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About Compair

The provision of air traffic management (ATM) services has for a long time been a national monopoly. In addition, it has traditionally been considered a natural monopoly due to the need for large infrastructure investments. Both of these elements are now changing. Air traffic management has been under increased scrutiny of the European Union since the start of the Single European Sky program. In addition, technological revolutions have reduced the need for large-scale ground-based infrastructure and expensive equipment, questioning the natural monopoly character of the industry.

The overall goal of the COMPAIR project was to study various institutional and market design options for introducing competition for en-route services. Our results suggests that introducing some form of competitive elements would:

  • Increase ANSPs efficiency
  • Lower charges
  • Increase technology uptake
  • Decrease fragmentation (for some options)

In order to assess their potential contribution to the European Single European Sky objectives. The project had the following goals:

  • Propose a set of new institutional market designs for the introduction of competition in the European ATM sector;
  • Define a framework allowing a comprehensive assessment of the impact of different institutional market designs;
  • Develop a variety of economic and network simulation models allowing the assessment of the proposed approaches;
  • Assess the feasibility and acceptability of proposed institutional changes for various market actors;
  • Propose a vision for the implementation of the most desirable institutional structures.

To achieve the overall objectives, the project focused on four potential ways to introduce competitive elements in the ATM sector:

  • Performance regulation with variations in ownership and governance models
  • Unbundling
  • Tender of licenses for en-route air traffic services
  • Flight centric, sector-less operations


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