8 Mar 2017 Merging – SAXFRA and SEAFRA

The Initiative will strengthen the South East Axis: the shortest route options between Central and South Europe

8 Mar 2017 Merging – SAXFRA and SEAFRA


Merging of Free Route Airspaces SAXFRA and SEAFRA
South East Common Sky Initiative (SECSI) – Memorandum of Cooperation signed

Representatives from five ANSPs signed a memorandum of cooperation during the World ATM Congress in Madrid aimed towards merging the two Free Route Airspaces SAXFRA (Slovenian Austrian Cross-Border Free Route Airspace) and SEAFRA (South-East Axis Free Route Airspace).

SAXFRA (Austro Control and Slovenia Control) and SEAFRA (BHANSA, Croatia Control and SMATSA) are two crucial cross-border initiatives contributing significantly to the efficient flow of air traffic along the vital South-East Axis.  Each project has shown itself to be working out very well, but in line with the goals of Single European Sky a merging of those two airspaces will generate even greater benefits.

The South East Common Sky Initiative will strengthen the South East Axis by offering the shortest route options between Central and South Europe, including the flows to Turkey and further to the Middle East. This initiative not only works towards achieving the goals of the European Commission regarding the implementation of Free Route across Europe but also fulfils airspace users’ requests for having multiple route options available for the same city pair. The cooperation of SAXFRA and SEAFRA will produce one of the largest cross-border Free Route airspaces in Europe and is a significant step towards achieving a common European Free Route airspace (FRA) by 2022.

“In line with the goals of Single European Sky this is the next significant step towards Free Route airspace across all of Europe. The South East Common Sky Initiative will benefit both the airlines and passengers in reducing fuel consumption as well as the travel time”, said Austro Control CEO Heinz Sommerbauer in Madrid.

“If there is a common goal and willingness to cooperate, we can achieve great things. The South East Common Sky Initiative is a perfect example for that. Five ANSPs working together towards improving the flow of air traffic across Europe”, said Austro Control COO Thomas Hoffmann.

“As a logical continuation of an excellent cross-border cooperation through the SAXFRA and SEAFRA free route projects, SECSI is not only in line with the Single European Sky initiative but offers even more increased efficiency and capacity over Central and South East Europe”, said BHANSA CEO, Davorin Primorac.

“The SECSI Free Route airspace is a step forward after the two successfully completed FRA projects, SAXFRA and SEAFRA.  I am sure that the five ANSPs will demonstrate excellent cooperation for the benefit of the airspace users to save thousands of tons of fuel per year; moreover, the citizens of the six states will be exposed to significantly decreased emissions of CO2 and NOx. I believe the airspace users will recognize the benefits of FRA in this region as well as the environmental achievements” said Croatia Control CEO Dragan Bilać.

“The South East Common Sky Initiative is another major step towards the needed ANSP collaboration in making a seamless European Sky a reality and reducing the future environmental footprint” said Slovenia Control CEO Franc Željko Županič.

“A positive attitude, professionalism and devotion, demonstrated in SEAFRA and SAXFRA projected by all parties involved, guarantees the success of the South East Common Sky Initiative. I am absolutely confident that this important Free Route Airspace project in the region and Europe will deliver more significant savings to our users”, said SMATSA CEO Radojica Rovčanin.

The significance of the South East Common Sky Initiative was also stressed by Joe Sultana, Director Network Manager Eurocontrol:

“Following the successful implementation of the SAXFRA and SEAFRA initiatives, the South East Europe Common Sky Initiative is an excellent example of how cross-border Free Route Airspace implementation progresses in Europe in complex airspace.  The detailed and innovative work conducted by the five ANSPs in close coordination with the Network Manager makes this initiative a tangible example of how the European ATM network can be optimised. It opens significant opportunities for further airspace optimisation in Central and South East Europe with similar neighboring initiatives”.


For more information, please contact:

Markus Pohanka, Austro Control: +43 51703 9100, markus.pohanka@austrocontrol.at

Žiga Ogrizek, Slovenia Control: +38 65137 2706, ziga.ogrizek@sloveniacontrol.si