The official launch (14 December 2021) of the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking (SESAR 3 JU), is marking a new chapter in modernising European air traffic management (ATM).
Bringing together the EU, Eurocontrol, and more than 50 organisations covering the entire aviation value chain, including drones, this new European partnership will invest more than EUR 1.6 billion between now and 2030 to accelerate, through research and innovation, the delivery of an inclusive, resilient and sustainable Digital European Sky.
Building on the achievements of its predecessor, the SESAR 3 JU will drive an ambitious programme to make Europe’s aviation infrastructure fit for the digital age, while offering quick wins to contribute towards the sector’s net zero ambitions.
Drawing upon a wide pool of multidisciplinary expertise spanning the length and breadth of Europe, the SESAR 3 JU will develop and deliver innovative solutions across nine flagship areas of research and innovation (R&I), accommodating a diverse array of air traffic, from air taxis and delivery drones to commercial airliners and military aircraft. The portfolio of R&I activities will be structured according to an innovation pipeline, composed of exploratory and industrial research, large-scale demonstrators and a fast-track mechanism, to accelerate market uptake of the most promising and competitive solutions.
The new partnership will also act as catalyst for speeding up the transition towards climate neutral aviation, focusing on solutions that can be implemented rapidly and that can bring environmental benefits in the short to medium term, ahead of a ramp-up in use of sustainable aviation fuels. It will also aim to introduce solutions that allow for a more flexible and resilient infrastructure that is capable of withstanding unpredictable shocks like COVID-19.
Key to the success of the SESAR 3 JU will be close cooperation with regulatory and standardisation bodies, notably the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and EUROCAE, in order to accelerate solutions into implementation, while working closely with the SESAR Deployment Manager. Also critical will be creating synergies between research and innovation activities at European and national level, which will be facilitated with the establishment of a States’ Representative Group to monitor the progress of the JU in line with the Horizon Europe and the Commission’s top priorities, including the “Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy”, “European Green Deal” and a “Europe fit for the digital age”.
SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking - animation
Speaking on the occasion of the first meeting of the SESAR 3 JU Governing Board, Director General of Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) and Chair of the SESAR 3 JU Governing Board, Henrik Hololei said: “The aviation sector has to accelerate its transition to a sustainable and digital future. But I have no doubt that working together with this goal in mind, we will make it. Air traffic is recovering steadily following the pandemic, there is a rapid rise in new entrants like drones, and the aviation network is under increasing pressure to reduce emissions and address the issue of lack of scalable capacity. The public-private partnership has shown that it serves as a catalyst to speed up this transition towards a green, climate neutral and digital Europe, and to make our European industry more competitive and more resilient.”
SESAR 3 JU Executive Director ad interim, Richard Frizon said: "The combination of the climate and COVID crises means that collaboration and the pooling of resources is more important than ever, since industry-wide challenges can only be overcome together. The new SESAR 3 JU offers the best means to coordinate efforts, bringing together the critical mass of resources, expertise and agile structure needed to deliver the Digital European Sky.”