Saura commits to continue promoting civil-military coordination
Today, the Secretary of State for Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda, and ENAIRE's Chairman, Pedro Saura, visited ENAIRE's Air Traffic Control Centre in Madrid, where the Air Force's Operational Air Traffic Squadron (ECAO), is also headquartered. The Secretary of State was accompanied by the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Javier Salto Martínez-Avial.
Both officials agreed on the need to continue making progress on the path of mutual collaboration, which is yielding so many good results in terms of efficient airspace management.
Civil-military coordination is the cornerstone for optimum shared use, in keeping with the concept of "FUA": Flexible Use of Airspace. In the ideal scenario, there is no rigid compartmentalisation of civil or military airspace, per se, but rather a single, continuous sky, at the service and disposal of anyone who needs it at any given time, while striking a balance that addresses the interests of civil aviation and defence.
In his speech, the Secretary of State and Chairman of ENAIRE said, "The Single European Sky cannot wait", in clear reference to the need to continue making progress toward redefining the traditional architecture of airspace through the "shared management" of all users, both civilian and military, who travel through Spain's sovereign airspace: commercial, military, general, sport, unmanned aircraft (drones), etc.
The shared and compatible use of airspace is particularly strategic in the case of the large military exercises that are held in our country, such as NATO manoeuvres, where civilian and military controllers use all their training, know-how and experience to improve safety.
According to data from ENAIRE's Operations Coordination Department (COP), 868 military exercises and activities were requested and coordinated with the Air Staff and conducted in different parts of the country in 2019. Foremost amongst these were Armed Forces Day and Spain's National Day.
Civil-military coordination is provided at three levels - strategic, pre-tactical and tactical - which guarantees the coexistence between the conduct of military manoeuvres and the management of civil air traffic.
At the strategic level, the supervisory body is the Inter-Ministerial Commission between the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda. This Commission's members include representatives from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the Air Staff, AESA and ENAIRE, which meet to plan and organise the management of airspace.
At the pre-tactical level, the leading role is played by the joint civil-military coordination cell (AMC), based at ENAIRE's Control Centre in Madrid, which assigns and issues the plan for using airspace on a daily basis.
The final level, which primarily involves tactics and operations, is handled through control room managers, supervisors, controllers and members of the military Operational Air Traffic Squadron (ECAO), which manages military air traffic at each ENAIRE control centre.
ENAIRE is the company of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda that manages air navigation in Spain. It renders aerodrome control services at 21 airports, including the busiest in terms of air traffic, plus en-route and approach control, from five control centres: Barcelona, Madrid, Gran Canaria, Palma and Seville. In addition, ENAIRE provides communications, navigation and surveillance services to 45 air control towers.
In 2019, ENAIRE handled 2.1 million flights to and from four continents (Europe, America, Asia and Africa), transporting 300 million passengers.
ENAIRE is the fourth most important European air navigation service provider, and, in a clear commitment to the Single Sky initiative, belongs to international partnerships such as SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) Joint Undertaking, SESAR Deployment Manager, A6, iTEC, CANSO (Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation) and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization).