The new chairman of the CEO Board of Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) of the Functional Airspace Block Europe Central (FABEC) is Alex Bristol, CEO of Skyguide. He sets clear objectives for his term: enhanced environmental focus, a further strengthening of cooperation between FABEC States and between the Functional Airspace Blocks themselves.

Focus also remains on the continuous improvement of the provision of safe and robust critical infrastructure for public, passengers and airspace users. Alex Bristol takes over the annual role from Prof Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, former Chairman and CEO of Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS), who retired this month. The deputy chairmanship goes to John Santurbano, Director of the Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC).

Alex Bristol said: “Collaboration between FABEC members is a proven catalyst for improvement and will be a cornerstone for the success of the Single European Sky in the coming years. Based on our cooperation we will push for further improvements to fulfil the needs of society in terms of mobility and environmental sustainability. Involving the whole European ANSP network in pursuit of these objectives delivers further benefit to airspace users.”

Klaus-Dieter Scheurle reflected: “2020 was an extraordinary year. Not only were we able to prove the importance of our business for the European community, our cooperation with States and at InterFAB-level reached new heights. Thus, I am happy to hand-over to Alex in a situation where FABEC is in a good position to improve the Single European Sky substantially.”

Under the leadership of Prof Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, FABEC ANSPs took advantage of low traffic in 2020 to shorten routes and introduce hundreds of more direct flight paths. Several initiatives were launched to prepare for 2024+, for example, online workshops addressed the recruitment strategy to ensure that there will be sufficient air traffic controllers when traffic returns, and the InterFAB workshop on ‘Interdependencies within ATM performance’ reviewed the strong need to reform the whole ATM regulatory system. Joint declarations at InterFAB level also deepened operational cooperation in support of the Single European Sky and brought closer alignment for aeronautical information management data exchange.

Alex Bristol joined the Skyguide Executive Board in 2011 after previously serving as NATS’ Director Strategy & Investment and General Manager, Swanwick. He has led Skyguide since 2017.

John Santurbano joined EUROCONTROL as Director MUAC in 2017, previously serving as Director of Luxembourg’s Administration de la Navigation Aérienne (ANA). John Santurbano has been the Champion CEO of the FABEC Environment Standing Committee since March 2020.