After a decade of negotiations MEPs and the Belgian Presidency of the Council have agreed on new EU rules to optimise flight routes, reduce flight delays and cut CO2 emissions.

A provisional agreement was reached on Wednesday morning between Parliament, led by rapporteurs Marian-Jean Marinescu (EPP, Romania) and Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D, PL), and Council negotiators on the reform of the so-called Single European Sky rules.

Better performance

The agreed text introduces performance plans for air navigation services to improve network management of EU airspace, with binding targets and incentives to make flights more efficient and environmentally friendly. An independent advisory Performance Review Board would be set up to help Commission and member states take decisions on the implementation of these plans.

Greener flights

MEPs secured in the negotiations provisions to make air navigation services and network management contribute to climate neutrality. Under the new rules the Commission will adopt EU performance targets on capacity, cost efficiency, climate and environmental factors for air navigation services. The performance of these services against these targets would be reviewed at least every three years.

Under the deal, Commission will have to conduct a study to help define how charges levied on airspace users (airlines or private planes operators) for the provision of air navigation services could encourage them to be more environmentally friendly, for example by using the most fuel-efficient available routing or alternative clean propulsion technologies.

More competition

A key demand of MEPs during the negotiations was to open the possibility for competition in the air navigation services market, and the new bill includes the possibility for air-traffic service providers to procure other air navigation services, such as communication, meteorological or aeronautical information services, under market conditions.


EP rapporteur Marian-Jean Marinescu (EPP, Romania) said: “Today’s deal signifies a shift towards efficiency and sustainability in air traffic management. The current nationalistic airspace architecture hampers progress, leading to longer flights, increased emissions, and unnecessary costs. It’s high time to finally prioritise efficiency over nationalism, to pave the way for safer, more cost-effective, and environmentally friendly air travels in Europe.”

Next steps

The informal deal on Single European Sky still needs to be approved by EU member state representatives and Parliament’s Transport and Tourism committee, and then the Parliament and Council as a whole.


In 2013 Commission proposed revising the Single European Sky rules, but the file was stuck with member states until Brexit, which prompted the Commission to upgrade the proposal in 2020. The following year legislators updated their positions and engaged in trilogue negotiations to agree on new draft rules.

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