Documents considered by the Committee on 22 November 2017 Contents

15Amendment to US-EU Memorandum of Co-operation on air traffic management systems

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; waiver granted; further information requested

Document details

Proposal for a Council Decision on the signing, on behalf of the Union, and provisional application of Amendment 1 to the Memorandum of Co-operation NAT-I-9406 between the United States of America and the European Union

Legal base

Article 100(2) in conjunction with Article 218(5) TFEU

Department

Transport

Document Number

(39150), 13544/17 + ADD 1, COM(17) 620

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

15.1The US and the EU have developed separate technological programmes79 to achieve greater efficiencies in air traffic management (ATM) systems, in order to cope with growth in air traffic. Since 2011, the EU and the US have coordinated their respective programmes—SESAR and NextGen—through Memorandum of Co-operation (MoC) NAT-I-9406. The chief objective of this coordination is to ensure that the air traffic management systems (ATMS) are interoperable.

15.2To date, this co-operation has principally related to Research and Development activities associated with SESAR and NextGen. However both programmes have now reached maturity and are moving beyond R&D, into the deployment phase. To enable co-operation to continue, on 8 May 2017 the Council authorised the Commission to negotiate with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to amend the MoC so as to extend its scope to the field of deployment.

15.3The Commission and the FAA have accordingly negotiated amendments to the MoC which would allow this co-operation to continue, and on 23 October 2017 the European Commission published a draft Council Decision which would have this effect.80 As well as extending the scope of the MoC to cover deployment, certain aspects of it are modernised, and the management process is streamlined. More information about the proposal is provided below in paragraphs 15.11 to 15.17.

15.4On 2 November 2017, the Secretary of State for Transport (Chris Grayling) submitted an Explanatory Memorandum81 to the Committee seeking clearance to support the proposed Decision in the Council of Ministers on 10 November 2017. The Minister states that the UK has supported SESAR since its introduction, and that technological co-operation with the US will contribute to the success and realisation of SESAR, and vice versa. He adds that the proposed co-operation “will also help towards achieving global interoperability in ATM which will increase safety, efficiency and sustainability, and avoid costly duplication of on-board equipment for airlines”.

15.5In the context of the UK’s imminent withdrawal from the EU, the Minister states that “it is in the UK’s interest to ensure the two programmes remain aligned, as UK airlines will wish to have continued access to both regions”, and suggests that the alignment of the two systems provides UK industry with the opportunity “to have full access to and to compete effectively in the US market”.82 On this basis, the Minister concludes that it is “extremely important” to support the continued integration of the SESAR and NextGen ATM modernisation programmes.

15.6The proposed Council Decision will ensure that information sharing and technological co-operation between the US and the EU in the development of their next generation air traffic management systems (ATMS) SESAR and NextGen, which has been ongoing since 2011, will continue as they progress from the R&D stage to deployment. The interoperability resulting from this co-operation will deliver benefits to UK air-traffic management and UK carriers, who avoid duplication of on-board equipment.

15.7To help us to delineate more precisely the significance of the proposed MoC in the context of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, we ask the Government to respond to the following questions:

15.8We grant the Government a waiver to support the proposal at the relevant meeting of Council. We retain the proposal under scrutiny and ask the Government to respond to the above questions by 6 December 2018.

Full details of the documents

Proposal for a Council Decision on the signing, on behalf of the Union, and provisional application of Amendment 1 to the Memorandum of Co-operation NAT-I-9406 between the United States of America and the European Union: (39150), 13544/17 + ADD 1, COM(17) 620.

The proposal

15.9The US and the EU have separate programmes to develop technological solutions to the challenges – principally caused by the growth of air traffic – facing air traffic management systems (ATMS). NextGen is the US programme and Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) is the EU programme. SESAR is the technology pillar of the EU’s Single European Sky (SES) programme which aims to improve the performance of the European ATM system.

15.10In 2011 Memorandum of Co-operation (MoC) NAT-I-9406 was put in place to ensure these programmes were coordinated and to encourage the development, safety, and efficiency of civil aeronautics in the US and in the EU.83 This followed the endorsement of the European Air Traffic Management Master Plan in 2009, which asked the Commission to take steps to achieve the highest level of interoperability between the SESAR project and its US equivalent, NextGen.84

15.11The cooperative activities carried out so far under the MoC mainly address air traffic management, in particular R&D co-operation between SESAR and NextGen; however, both programmes have now moved beyond R&D and are starting to be deployed. On 8 May 2017 the Council authorised the Commission to negotiate with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) an amendment to the MoC to extend its scope to deployment.

15.12The Commission’s three main negotiating objectives with the FAA were:

15.13The Commission’s proposal concludes that “these three objectives have been fully met”. The draft Decision states that:

15.14In practical terms, the MoC will allow for information to be shared between the EU and US on:

The Minister’s Explanatory Memorandum of 2 November 201785

15.15The Secretary of State for Transport (Chris Grayling) writes that the Government fully supports the amendment to the MoC between the EU and the US in the field of civil aviation R&D and that he considers it “extremely important” to support the continued integration of the SESAR and NextGen ATM modernisation programmes.

15.16In terms of its effects, the Minister states that the MoC will:

15.17Of the MoC’s benefits for UK stakeholders, the Minister states that the MoC provides an opportunity for UK industry “to have full access to and to compete effectively in the US market.” The nature of the market access to which the Minister refers is slightly unclear. The proposal will, as described above, mean that carriers will not have to duplicate on-board equipment to comply with both ATMS, which will reduce non-tariff barriers to trade in aviation services; however, it is not clear to what extent this benefit is specifically contingent on the MoC applying to the UK. There may also be some benefits for ATM equipment manufacturers, in terms of efficiencies arising from a high degree of interoperability between the two systems; again, though, it is unclear whether this benefit is contingent on the agreement applying to the UK. Finally, it is important to note that market access for air transport services – i.e. the ability of UK carriers to provide transport services within US airspace – is governed by the US-EU Open Skies Agreement.86 Further clarification is therefore needed of the benefits of the MoC to UK stakeholders that depend on the MoC applying to the UK by virtue of it being an EU Member State.

15.18Regarding the implications of the UK’s impending departure from the European Union, the Minister notes that:

“The Government considers that it is in the UK’s interest to ensure the two programmes remain aligned, as UK airlines will wish to have continued access to both regions.”

Previous Committee Reports

None.


79 The US programme is known is NextGen. The EU’s equivalent programme is Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR)—the technology pillar of the Single European Sky programme.

80 Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION on the signing, on behalf of the Union, and provisional application of Amendment 1 to the Memorandum of Co-operation NAT-I-9406 between the United States of America and the European Union https://goo.gl/oJPQLm.

83 Memorandum of Co-operation NAT-I-9406 between the United States of America and the European Union https://goo.gl/z6TYQU.

84 See page 3 of European Commission, European Air Traffic Management Master Plan https://goo.gl/LcZcsN (30 March 2009).

86 Air Transport Agreement Official Journal of the European Union, L134 (volume 50, 25 May 2007).




28 November 2017