The Association of European Airlines (AEA) has signed a strategic partnership agreement with UK air navigation services provider NATS to explore ways of driving progress toward implementation of the Single European Sky (SES) and delivering additional savings for airlines in Europe.

The two organizations will consider how Europe’s airspace could be better managed to cope with forecast growth in air traffic, while at the same time reducing costs. The partnership also presents an opportunity to develop a shared understanding and common positions on the institutional and regulatory environment that could best deliver the objectives of SES.

NATS has called for greater collaboration to drive forward reform of European air traffic management.

NATS CEO Richard Deakin said: “We think it’s vital that we, as air traffic service providers, recognize that airlines are our customers and put them at the heart of everything we do. Partnering with AEA will bring us even closer to our customers and we believe that will help us find new ways to make Europe’s airspace work better for all of us.”

AEA CEO Athar Husain Khan said: “The realization of the Single European Sky and the improvement of the current European air traffic control system is a top priority for AEA and its members. We look forward to working together with NATS on this and many other projects of common interest.”