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The third NEFAB Council meeting held in Oslo

by NEFAB Council

The third meeting of the NEFAB Council since the entry into force of the NEFAB State Level Agreement took place in Oslo on 19 September 2013. The Council addressed important issues regarding the future strategic direction of NEFAB, including measures to meet the soon to be confirmed European wide performance targets.
The NEFAB Council is the supreme governance body in NEFAB, in which the transport ministries and defence ministries participate. The Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications chairs the Council in the first year of the NEFAB cooperation.
The Council meeting was attended by representatives of ministries of transport from the four participating States: Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Norway, as well as from the ministries of defence from Finland and Norway. Chairs of NEFAB Committees and Chairs of the governing bodies of the air navigation service providers also took part in the meeting.
The Council discussed at length the future strategic direction of NEFAB. Fundamental issues in this relation are the challenges coming from the performance requirements adopted through EU legislation, as well as from new approaches for organising air navigation service provision and cooperation within functional airspace blocks set out in the proposal for revising the EU legislation within this field. The updated 5 year business plan for cooperation between the air navigation service providers of NEFAB is another essential part .  The NEFAB Committees are key facilitators for enhancing the cooperation within NEFAB at various levels. Among issues tabled from the Committees was a recommendation for use of English as only language in defined parts of NEFAB airspace. Another dealt with implementation of new, enhanced tools developed by EUROCONTROL for “flexible use of airspace”. (LARA and PRISMIL tools for coordination of airspace use between civil and military airspace users.)
Cooperation with neighbouring States was also addressed at this meeting, including the relations with Denmark and Sweden and the relations with Russia. The cooperation with Denmark and Sweden for the realisation of a Free Route Airspace concept in the airspace of these six States by end of 2015 is progressing according to plan. The service providers involved have established a joint project with high-level governance to ensure its success.
The Chairman of the NEFAB Council, Mr. Ottar Ostnes, Director General of the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications, made the following assessment of the meeting:
“We have conducted very important and useful discussions on strategic issues in the NEFAB Council  We are still in the process of establishing mature strategic directions for the future. In the meantime, I am pleased to note that we are taking concrete steps in our cooperation that are important by themselves, inter alia by the benefits they are bringing to airspace users and other stakeholders.”
The inaugural meeting of the NEFAB Air Navigation Services Consultative Board (ANSCB) took place in conjunction with the NEFAB Council meeting. The meeting was attended by representatives of the ministries and national authorities concerned in the NEFAB States, as well as national service providers, airspace users and staff associations. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange views on the NEFAB cooperation and the future plans for developing the cooperation on the background of existing and proposed EU legislation and requirements related to the provision of air navigation services.
The last meeting of the NEFAB Council this year is scheduled for 27 November. Estonia will take the helm of the NEFAB Council as Chair for 2014.