The European Union’s “Connecting Europe Facility” (CEF) is the key funding instrument that supports transport infrastructure investment at European level. The latest CEF call was launched on 6 October, making available €290 million for co-funding, with a specific focus on accelerating the renewal and updating of European airports’ Air Traffic Control (ATC) infrastructure. Barbora Smolikova reports.
With the support of the SESAR Deployment Airport Grouping (SDAG, part of ACI EUROPE), European airports are succeeding in obtaining public funding for their ATM investments. In the last call, 15 European airport operators secured a total of €60m in co-funding, mostly for a joint application named “Enablers for Airport Surface Movement related to Safety Net”. That application is aimed at synchronised deployment of the Advanced-Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS) throughout Europe, under the leadership of Groupe ADP.
As it happens, airports are currently leading the way, in terms of joint applications. These are multi-stakeholder projects, which allow for a much more aligned, coordinated and synchronised execution and, as such, bring a more stable framework enabling airport operators to comply with the obligations in the Pilot Common Project regulation.
Next call: iAOP
The focus for airports in the next call is Initial Airport Operations Plan (iAOP), which improves the efficiency of airside operations through real-time information sharing. It has been selected by the European Commission as a priority for deployment. A joint application for iAOP is under preparation for submission, in response to the 2017 CEF Transport Call for Proposals. The joint application is coordinated by SDAG, with Brussels Airport Company as lead partner. For the moment, approximately 12 airport operators with an indicative budget of €80m of investment are participating, some with local ATC providers and, in some cases, even their home carrier. The proposal(s) will be submitted for the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) evaluation in April 2018 (official deadline is on 12 April 2018).
Thanks to this constantly growing interest of the airport operators in possible financial support for modernisation of the ATM, SDAG noted an increased interest of airport operators in European funding programmes. SDAG will look at an assessment of the interesting and relevant possibilities that are currently available outside the CEF INEA funding for ATC.
Barbora Smolikova, SDAG Funding Expert, says “We encourage the airport operators to have a good look at their investment plans and to explore the potential EU funding available. We are open to questions for clarification and potential investigation.”