The idea of a single European sky has been on the agenda since 1960 when Eurocontrol was formed to create a single airspace for the union’s six founding member states.
Forecasters predict that air traffic will double by 2020. Current systems will manage the growth until the middle of the next decade. Following that radical measures are required to prevent severe congestion.
As it stands there are 27 airspaces and 50 control centres. In 2012 the SES will come into force with the union of the airspace of France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
The French air traffic unions believe the formation of the SES will result in the loss of public sector jobs.
The EU backs the plan designed to restructure European airspace based on traffic flow, rather than national borders, increased capacity and the overall efficiency of European air traffic control.