What is SESAR in Aviation? (Single European Skyatm Research)

In the rapidly evolving field of aviation, the Single European SkyATM Research (SESAR) program plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of the European airspace. SESAR is an ambitious initiative that aims to modernize and streamline air traffic management (ATM) systems across Europe through the development and deployment of innovative technologies and operational procedures. This groundbreaking program is driven by the need to enhance the safety, capacity, and efficiency of European airspace, while reducing the environmental impact of aviation.

Single European SkyATM Research

The Single European SkyATM Research (SESAR) program was launched in 2004 as a public-private partnership between the European Commission and the European aviation industry. It is an integral part of the wider Single European Sky initiative, which seeks to create a harmonized and integrated airspace across Europe. By bringing together key stakeholders from the aviation sector, including air navigation service providers, airlines, aircraft manufacturers, and research institutions, SESAR aims to drive innovation and foster collaboration to address the complex challenges facing European ATM.

Under the SESAR program, a series of research and development activities are carried out to explore new concepts and technologies that can improve the overall performance of ATM systems. These activities cover a wide range of areas, including communication, navigation, surveillance, automation, and decision-making. By leveraging emerging technologies such as satellite-based navigation, data communication networks, and advanced automation systems, SESAR strives to create a more interconnected and efficient ATM infrastructure.

One of the key objectives of SESAR is to enable seamless operations across national borders, which is currently hindered by fragmented ATM systems in Europe. By implementing a harmonized and interoperable framework for ATM, SESAR aims to eliminate duplications and inefficiencies, reduce delays, and enhance the predictability of flights. This is crucial for accommodating the anticipated growth in air traffic, as the number of flights is expected to double by 2035.

To achieve these goals, SESAR focuses on a number of core areas:

  • Performance-Based Navigation (PBN): PBN allows aircraft to navigate precisely along designated flight paths, reducing fuel consumption, emissions, and noise. It relies on satellite-based systems such as Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) to provide accurate and reliable positioning data.
  • Data Communications (Data Comm): Data Comm enables the exchange of digital data between pilots and air traffic controllers, facilitating more efficient and streamlined communication. This reduces the reliance on voice communications, leading to improved accuracy and faster decision-making.
  • Integrated Airport Operations: SESAR aims to optimize airport operations by integrating various systems and stakeholders involved in ground handling, baggage handling, gate assignment, and runway management. By enhancing coordination and data sharing, delays and congestion can be minimized, resulting in smoother and more efficient airport operations.

The Benefits of SESAR

The implementation of SESAR brings a multitude of benefits to various stakeholders in the aviation industry:

Airlines: SESAR enables more direct routing for flights, reducing fuel consumption and emissions, which can lead to significant cost savings for airlines. By optimizing airspace and airport operations, SESAR also helps airlines to minimize delays and improve on-time performance.

Airports: With integrated airport operations under the SESAR framework, airports can enhance their capacity and improve overall efficiency. This allows for smoother handling of passenger flow, reduced congestion, and better utilization of airport resources.

Air Traffic Controllers: SESAR equips air traffic controllers with advanced tools and technologies to manage air traffic more efficiently. This improves their situational awareness, decision-making capabilities, and overall safety of operations.

Passengers: Through more efficient airspace and airport operations, SESAR helps to minimize delays, reduce travel times, and enhance the overall passenger experience. Additionally, the implementation of PBN also leads to quieter flights and reduced noise pollution around airports.

The Environment: As aircraft can fly more direct routes and reduce fuel consumption, the implementation of SESAR contributes to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and overall environmental impact. This aligns with the ongoing global efforts to mitigate climate change and achieve more sustainable aviation.

The Future of SESAR

The Single European SkyATM Research (SESAR) program has made significant progress since its inception, with numerous technological developments and operational improvements already implemented. However, the journey towards a fully integrated and harmonized European ATM system is an ongoing endeavor.

The future of SESAR lies in the continuous collaboration among industry stakeholders, research institutions, and regulatory bodies. This collaboration is crucial for the development and adoption of new technologies, as well as the alignment of regulatory frameworks to ensure the safe and efficient implementation of innovative ATM solutions.

Looking ahead, SESAR aims to further enhance the automation of ATM systems, leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced data analytics. This will enable more proactive and predictive decision-making, improving the overall operational efficiency and resilience of the European airspace.

Furthermore, SESAR will continue to explore and integrate emerging technologies, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and urban air mobility (UAM), into the European ATM system. These developments will pave the way for the safe and efficient integration of drones and other advanced aerial vehicles into the airspace, supporting the growth of new industries and enabling innovative applications.


The Single European SkyATM Research (SESAR) program is a vital initiative in the aviation industry, seeking to transform and modernize the European airspace. Through innovative technologies and collaborative efforts, SESAR aims to enhance the safety, capacity, and efficiency of air traffic management systems, while reducing the environmental impact of aviation. The implementation of SESAR brings a multitude of benefits to various stakeholders, including airlines, airports, air traffic controllers, passengers, and the environment. With the continuous development and adoption of new technologies, SESAR paves the way for a more integrated, harmonized, and sustainable European ATM system.

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