EU policymakers learn about air traffic management industry ambitions during skeyes visit


Brussels, 13 July 2022 – This summer, Europe’s Air Navigation Services Providers (ANSPs) are addressing the challenge of managing growing traffic levels as passengers return to flying again. It was therefore timely for Members of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee and national Aviation Attachés to the EU to visit today the Belgian air traffic control centre of skeyes at Brussels Airport to see how air traffic management (ATM) works in practice.

The visitors were invited as guests of skeyes, the Belgian ANSP, and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), which represents 35 European ANSPs. Every day on average skeyes controls 650 movements at Brussels Airport and 1,630 flights across the whole of Belgium (figures before COVID). The skeyes air traffic control centre is therefore an ideal facility to demonstrate the complexity of ATM in Europe.

The visitors were given a tour of the air traffic control tower, the joint civil-military air traffic control centre (CANAC 2) and the skeyes training facility. As well as witnessing an ANSP’s operations at first hand, they learned about European ATM industry’s future ambitions, such as the completion of the Single European Sky, the transition to more digitalised and automated ways of working, the provision of more environmentally optimised routing and the facilitation of the nascent market for drone flights (U-Space).

Michiel van Dorst, Chair of CANSO’s EC3 (CEO Committee) said: “The pandemic has been tough for the whole aviation industry, but Air Navigation Services Providers successfully fulfilled their mandate to keep the skies fully open. They will seek to continue to provide the capacity required by airspace users as traffic recovers. Looking further ahead, we call on the EU institutions to find the necessary compromises on the Single European Sky legislative proposal in order to support the transition of our industry.”

skeyes CEO, Johan Decuyper said: “In these challenging times, skeyes is ready to guarantee the safety of air traffic in Belgian airspace and at Belgian airports. We are continuously recruiting air traffic controllers and technical staff, and will soon build the first remote tower centre in Belgium. At the same time, skeyes is preparing for the future by investing in innovative projects regarding Unmanned Air Traffic and by contributing to reduce environmental impact by promoting Continuous Descent Operations, setting up Collaborative Environmental Management on Belgian airports and collaborating strongly with the sector of renewable energy.”