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Regulation 550/2004 - Provision of Air Navigation Services in SES

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Regulation (EC) No 550/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 on the provision of air navigation services in the Single European sky


The Service provision regulation establishes common requirements to ensure that air navigation services are provided safely and efficiently, on a continuous and interoperable basis, throughout the European Community. It introduces a harmonised system of certification and lays down rules for designating service providers.


The Service provision regulation forms part of the first package of legislation on air traffic management designed to create a Single European Sky (SES). This objective will make for improved safety, optimum use of European airspace, reduced air traffic delays and sustainable air transport growth.

The first Single Sky legislative package includes another three regulations laying down the framework for the creation of the single European sky (The Framework regulation), the organisation and use of the airspace (The Airspace regulation) and the interoperability of the European air traffic management network (The Interoperability regulation).


The stipulations of this regulation apply to the provision of air navigation services to general air traffic (GAT) and can be summarised as follows:

National Supervisory Authorities

National Supervisory Authorities must ensure appropriate supervision of the application of the regulation, particularly with regard to the safe and efficient operation of air navigation service providers (public or private entities providing air navigation services) which provide services relating to the airspace falling under the responsibility of the Member State.

Each National Supervisory Authority must organise proper inspections and surveys to check compliance with the Regulation's requirements. The air navigation service provider concerned must facilitate this work. However, the National Supervisory Authorities may delegate the inspections and surveys to recognised organisations meeting certain requirements.

Licensing of Controllers

The Commission will present to the European Parliament and of the Council a proposal to harmonise the licensing systems for air traffic controllers, increase the availability of controllers and promote mutual recognition of licences

Pursuant to Article 5 of the Service provision regulation the European Parliament and the Council adopted in April 2006 a Directive on Community air traffic controller licence.

Common Requirements

Common requirements for the provision of air navigation services must include the following: technical and operational competence and suitability, systems and processes for safety and quality management, reporting systems, quality of services, financial strength, liability and insurance cover, ownership and organisational structure (including the prevention of conflicts of interest), security, and human resources (including adequate staffing plans).

Certification of Air Navigation Service Providers

All provision of air navigation services within the European Community is subject to certification by Member States. Certificates must specify the rights and obligations of air navigation service providers, including compliance with the common requirements and non-discriminatory access to services for airspace users, with particular regard to safety.

Designation of Air Traffic Service Providers

To ensure the provision of air traffic services on an exclusive basis within specific airspace blocks (airspace of specified dimensions within which air navigation services are provided) in respect of the airspace under their responsibility, Member States must designate an air traffic service provider holding a valid certificate in the Community.

Relations between Service Providers

Air navigation service providers may avail themselves of the services of other service providers that have been certified in the European Community.

Transparency of Accounts

Air navigation service providers must draw up, submit to audit and publish their financial accounts.

Access to and Protection of Data

Operational data (information relating to all flight phases) must be exchanged in real time between all air navigation service providers, airspace users and airports to facilitate their operational needs.

Charging Schemes

The charging scheme must be based on account of the air navigation service costs incurred by service providers for the benefit of airspace users. The following principles must be applied when establishing the cost-base for charges:

  • The cost to be shared among airspace users is the full cost of providing air navigation services;
  • The costs to be taken into account in this context are those assessed in relation to the facilities and services provided for and implemented under the ICAO Regional Air Navigation Plan, European Region;
  • The cost of different air navigation services must be identified separately;
  • Cross-subsidy between different air navigation services must be allowed only when justified for objective reasons;
  • Transparency of the cost-base for charges must be guaranteed.

Detailed requirements for the implementation of the charging principles have been put in place through the adoption of the regulation laying down a Common charging scheme for air navigation services.

The full text of the Service provision regulation can be viewed here.

Follow-up regulations

Pursuant to Article 6 of the Service provision regulation the European Commission adopted in December 2005 a regulation establishing Common requirements for the provision of air navigation services, known also as Regulation 2096/2005.

Pursuant to Article 4 of the Service provision regulation and amending Regulation 2096/2005, the European Commission adopted in:

Further Reading

European Commission