From a political perspective, European competitiveness in the global market is important. Hence, the origins of the Single European Sky are partially to be found in a comparison of the performance between US and European air traffic management systems.
At the beginning of this millennium, European air navigation service providers had significantly higher costs. This has changed substantially in the past few years. Today, total costs in the US are 17 percent higher than in Europe. Seen in relation to passenger miles — a standard indicator in commercial aviation — European costs are 34 percent lower than in the US. In addition, there is only one air navigation service provider in the US compared to many in Europe. This is often described as fragmentation. However, when the number of operational air traffic controllers is considered, the US has 40 percent more control sectors.
While these figures and comparisons provide some hints for improvements, it remains a comparison between apples and pears. There are many differences in traffic mix and social systems, hence FABEC cherishes the diversity of both systems – especially as both have always provided excellent service.