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Much change has taken place in the international aviation domain in recent years which has prompted a fundamental change in how air navigation service providers such as the IAA conduct their business. Delays across Europe in the late 1990s forced the European Union to examine how European airspace is organised. What they found was a fragmented air traffic management system: one of congestion, flight delays and inefficiency.
In order to address these issues, the EU decided to bring air traffic management into line with the Community principle of the smooth operation of the internal market and ensure the creation of a Single European Sky (SES). Two packages of legislation followed in 2004 and 2009, designed, in particular, to improve and reinforce safety and to restructure the airspace on the basis of traffic needs instead of national frontiers. One of the cornerstones of the SES legislation is the creation of Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) - the integration of airspace based on operational requirements rather than national boundaries in order to improve capacity, enhance safety and lower costs.
The Single European Sky legislation is the driver behind many of the international alliances the IAA has formed in recent years. In the first instance, Ireland created a FAB with the UK and this initiative is managed at day-to-day level by the air navigation service providers of the two countries, IAA and NATS. However, it is likely that the UK-Ireland FAB is just a stepping stone to bigger and greater things. This in turn may lead to the creation of a FAB covering all of North-Western Europe (NEFAB).
NORACON, of which the IAA is a member, is an initiative driven by the technical arm of the Single European Sky legislation, SESAR.
The IAA also continues to build on its High Frequency (HF) partnership with Iceland to meet the challenges of HF regression on the North Atlantic.
In 2003, the IAA and its Icelandic counterpart, ISAVIA formed an alliance for the provision of High Frequency (HF) radio in the North Atlantic region.
Established in 2008, the UK-Ireland Functional Airspace Block (FAB) was the first FAB to be founded. Since then, the partners have consistently selected and planned projects with the close cooperation of stakeholders including airlines and airports, which deliver safety, efficiency and environmental benefits quickly.
The IAA is a member of NORACON, the NORth European and Austrian CONsortium, along with the air navigation services providers of Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway and Sweden and the Swedish airport authority, Swedavia.