SESAR programme

SESAR is the European Air Traffic Control Infrastructure Modernisation Programme

“A doubling of flight movements by 2030: How can we cope ?”

SESAR is the European air traffic control infrastructure modernisation programme.

SESAR aims at developing the new generation air traffic management system capable of ensuring the safety and fluidity of air transport worldwide over the next 30 years.

In order to properly manage the development phase of this huge and ambitious project, a legal entity was created, under European Community law:

Company Profile

  • About Us

    The SESAR programme came to life with the acknowledgment that Europe’s current air traffic control systems will soon be unable to cope with the growth in flight movements, the number of which will double by 2030. In 2007, about 10 million flights were recorded, whilst the most likely scenario according to the EUROCONTROL report “Challenges of Growth” is average growth of 2.7% a year between now and 2030, i.e. 20.4 million flights by 2030 . At the same time, environmental awareness is rising, prompting the need for more efficient operations and better technology.

    The SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) was created under European Community law on 27 February 2007, with EUROCONTROL and the European Community as founding members, in order to manage the SESAR Development Phase.

    The aim of the SESAR Joint Undertaking is to ensure the modernisation of the European air traffic management system by coordinating and concentrating all relevant research and development efforts in the Community.

  • The Executive Director

    “We cannot succeed without the collaboration of all. No solutions for the long term can be found by only one actor: the various air navigation service providers, airspace users, airports, the military, the States, etc. must all agree on the technological solutions and the way to implement them. SESAR is all about partnership and is the only way forward.”

    Patrick Ky

    Patrick Ky was appointed as the Executive Director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking by the Administrative Board on 12/10/2007.

    He is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Joint Undertaking and is its legal representative. He performs his duties with complete independence within the powers assigned to him.

    The Executive Director directs the execution of the SESAR project within the guidelines established by the Administrative Board to which he is responsible. He provides the Administrative Board with all information necessary for the performance of its functions.

    The Director shall in particular:

    • employ, manage and supervise the staff of the Joint Undertaking;
    • organise, manage and supervise the activities of the Joint Undertaking;
    • submit to the Administrative Board his proposals concerning the organisation chart;
    • draw up and regularly update the global and the annual work programme of the Joint Undertaking, including an estimate on programme costs, and submit them to the Administrative Board;
    • draw up, in accordance with the Joint Undertaking’s financial Regulation, the draft annual budget, including the staff establishment plan, and submit them to the Administrative Board;
    • ensure that the obligations of the Joint Undertaking, with regard to the contracts and agreements it concludes are met;
    • ensure that the activities of the Joint Undertaking are carried out with complete independence and without any conflicts of interest;
    • draw up the annual report on the progress of the SESAR project and its financial situation, and such other reports as may be requested by the Administrative Board, and submit them to the latter;
    • submit the annual accounts and balance-sheet to the Administrative Board;
    • submit to the Administrative Board any proposal involving changes in the design of the SESAR project.
  • SESAR Background

    European airspace is among the busiest in the world with more than 33,000 flights on busy days and high airport density. This makes air traffic control much more complex.

    The EU Single European Sky is an ambitious initiative launched by the European Commission in 2004 to reform the architecture of European air traffic management. It proposes a legislative approach to meet future capacity and safety needs at a European rather than a local level.

    The Single European Sky is the only way to provide a uniform and high level of safety and efficiency over Europe’s skies.

    The key objectives are to:

    • Restructure European airspace as a function of air traffic flows
    • Create additional capacity; and
    • Increase the overall efficiency of the air traffic management system

    The major elements of this new institutional and organisational framework for Air Traffic Management in Europe consist of:

    • Separating regulatory activities from service provision, and the possibility of cross-border Air Traffic Management services.
    • Reorganising European airspace that is no longer constrained by national borders.
    • Setting common rules and standards, covering a wide range of issues, such as flight data exchanges and telecommunications.

    Click here to access the European Commission website on Single European Sky.



SESAR Joint Undertaking
100 avenue de Cortenberg 1000
  • +32 2 507 80 00