How airports are benefiting from European funding

The SESAR Deployment Airport Grouping (SDAG, part of ACI EUROPE) continues to help ACI EUROPE’s airport members – both large and regional airports – to apply for Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding with very positive results so far.

EU funding is allowing European airports to modernise their Air Traffic Management (ATM) infrastructure, in order to deliver the Single European Sky. Large airports are not the only ones to benefit from it. Regional airports can also have access to funding to improve their performance. More funding opportunities will be available in 2019. Barbora Smolikova reports.

The SESAR Deployment Airport Grouping (SDAG, part of ACI EUROPE) continues to help ACI EUROPE’s airport members – both large and regional airports – to apply for Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding with very positive results so far. For instance, Brussels Airport has submitted under SDAG a multi-stakeholder project in response to the 2017 CEF Transport SESAR Call for Proposals. More specifically, this joint application – “Synchronised stakeholder decision on process optimisation at airport level” – is addressing one of the European Commission’s priorities: improving the efficiency of airside operations through real-time information sharing. It sees the involvement of 13 airport operators and 2 ANSPs with an indicative budget of €90.3m of investment. The proposal has been submitted in April 2018 and it is currently under the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency’s (INEA) evaluation and assessment. The results are due to be announced in September.

This is a good example of how airport operators are a proactive part of the coordinated and synchronised ATM modernisation in Europe. Since 2014, the 25 airports that are in scope of the Pilot Common Project (PCP) implementing regulation – those airports that have a huge impact on the whole European ATM network – are implementing SESAR procedures and technologies with their air traffic service provider as often as possible. With the help of SDAG, they have already secured around €185m in co-funding for their investments.

In line with what SDAG highlighted at the 11th ACI EUROPE Regional Airports Conference & Exhibition in May in Naples, the interest of the non-PCP airports in European funding is growing as well. Also, non-PCP airports (e.g. Lisbon Airport, Fraport Slovenia, Riga International Airport, Birmingham Airport, etc.) have become an important element of the ATM modernisation. In the last 3 years, 12 non-PCP airports have implemented SESAR procedures and technologies for a total investment of €36.6m, securing €14.6m of co-funding. These airport operators are mainly focused on the implementation of the following initiatives:

  • Performance Based Navigation (PBN)
  • Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) / Advanced Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM)
  • Initial Airport Operations Plan (IAOP)

In view of enlarging the scope of the support that ACI EUROPE provides to its airport members, ACI EUROPE is part of a consortium with Deepblue and ENAV (the Italian Air Navigation Service Provider). This consortium won the project “Airport Operations Management for Regional Airports”, launched by EUROCONTROL under SESAR 2020 PJ.04 “Total Airport Management” (TAM). TAM aims at integrating the airports into the ATM network through sharing information in a timely manner between the Network Operations Plan (NOP) and the individual Airport Operations Plan (AOP). The specific objective of this project is to elaborate operational requirements and use cases which would be aligned with the concepts developed in PJ04 “Total Airport Management”, but which will specifically “fit for purpose” for the regional airport community. The main findings of this project, which has the direct and proactive involvement of the selected sample of airport operators, will be shared upon its finalisation.

Considering that CEF Transport Calls for Proposals are published periodically, the next one is expected to be launched by INEA in 2019. This gives your airport a unique opportunity to start preparing your application well in advance. SDAG is ready to support your airport during the application process, so get in touch with SDAG to explain what your airport’s plans and needs are for the next years (in terms of investments, innovations, etc.) and SDAG will explore the most appropriate funding possibilities available.

SDAG is open to questions for clarification and potential investigation. You can visit the SDAG website ( and contact SDAG on the following email addresses: and

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