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

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

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 - text published in the Official Journal of the European Union


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 qualified entities 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.

Following the appropriate consultation and approval processes Commission Regulation (EU) No 805/2011 of 10 August 2011 laying down detailed rules for air traffic controllers’ licences and certain certificates entered into force in September 2011.

After further consultation, Regulation 805/2011 was repealed in 2015 by Regulation 2015/340 - Technical Requirements and Administrative Procedures relating to Air Traffic Controllers' Licences

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 Regulation 1794/2006 - Common Charging Scheme for Air Navigation Services, repealed in 2015 by Regulation 391/2013.

SES II Amendment to the Regulation

In order to reinforce the role of NSAs, foster the establishment of functional airspace blocks by EU Member States and ensure fair cost allocation to the users of air navigation services, the Service provision regulation was amended by Regulation (EC) No 1070/2009 of 14 November 2009.

A number of changes have been introduced to facilitate the cooperation between NSAs, mutual recognition of supervisory tasks and certification process. Of particular importance are the changes related to:

  • Article 8 - “Designation of air traffic service providers”: Member States shall ensure that national legal system requirements do not prevent provision of cross-border services on the grounds of provisions related to service providers’ ownership, principle place of operation and facilities’ location.
  • New article 9a - “Functional airspace blocks”: EU Member States shall establish functional airspace blocks (FABs) by 4 December 2012. The FABs shall meet a number of conditions laid down by this article and shall be supported by a safety case. The European Commission shall assess the fulfilment by each FAB of the conditions set out in this article and shall engage in a dialogue with the Member States concerned with the aim of reaching a consensus on the measures necessary to rectify the situation if one or more FABs do not fulfil the requirements. The Commission shall, by 4 December 2011, adopt implementing rules regarding the information to be provided by the Member States before establishing and modifying a FAB. Guidance material for the establishment and modification of FABs shall be developed by 4 December 2010.
  • Article 15 - “Principles (of charging schemes)”: Cross-subsidy is not allowed between en-route services and terminal services. The Commission shall adopt detailed implementing rules for this article.
  • New article 15a - “Common projects”: The Commission may decide to set up common projects for network-related functions which are of particular importance for the improvement of the overall performance of ATM and ANS in Europe. Such common projects shall aim to improve the performance of the European aviation system and may be considered eligible for Community funding.

Regulation (EC) No 550/2004 on the provision of air navigation services in the Single European Sky - consolidated text

Further Reading

European Commission


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