The new management contract was signed at the headquarters of skeyes. On behalf of the Belgian State, Georges Gilkinet, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mobility, signed the contract. On behalf of skeyes, the CEO, Johan Decuyper, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Laurent Vrijdaghs, signed the contract.

On Friday, 26 March, the government gave the green light for the fourth management contract between skeyes, the air navigation service provider that ensures the safety of Belgian airspace, and the Belgian State. The contract provides the air navigation service provider with a stable framework to secure its activities and achieve its long-term objectives. It makes resources available for investments in technological innovations that will make the tomorrow’s use of airspace more efficient and safer, while also contributing to the development of a more sustainable aviation.

Johan Decuyper, CEO of skeyes: ​“This fourth management contract will enable skeyes to continue its technological investment policy aimed at continuously improving aviation safety while at the same time addressing one of the key challenges our sector faces. This way, the new management contract provides the means to realise critical innovative technological investments such as the development of remote digital traffic management for regional airports and the upgrade of the navigation management system in the control towers and the CANAC2 centre to the highest safety standards.”

Georges Gilkinet, Minister of Mobility: ​"Long-awaited, the fourth and new management contract for skeyes, which we signed this Tuesday, 21 May, seals the common commitment of the Belgian state and our air traffic controller in favor of safer and more sustainable aviation. This strategic document contains ambitious objectives and a clear long-term vision: while air safety remains obviously essential, equally important objectives have been included for the first time in terms of good governance, financial transparency, information sharing, and environmental protection. Through air traffic management, flight procedures, new approach techniques, and the modulation of fees based on the environmental performance of aircraft, skeyes will act as much as possible to reduce the negative impact of planes on the climate, environment, and the health of overflown populations. The new contract also provides for additional space to be freed up for wind turbines near airports, without risk to air safety. Finally, just like with the railway companies SNCB and Infrabel, we have established a performance dialogue that will ensure continuous improvement of the services offered by skeyes. This fourth contract is part of the ambitious policy through which I intend to address the major challenges facing the aviation sector, including its decarbonization and contribution to the climate battle, challenges that skeyes must play a pioneering role in, serving the transition of our economy."

The aviation sector has changed significantly over the past 10 years. The new management contract takes these changes into account and provides a solid foundation for the next 5 years, enabling skeyes to better anticipate climate, economic and technological challenges. While skeyes’ primary mission is to ensure air traffic safety, new objectives are set:

  • Air traffic safety. The management contract highlights the importance of aviation safety, both now and in the future, and encourages skeyes to maintain the Just Culture reporting in order to improve safety for all users of our airspace. skeyes will continue to invest in technological developments that promote the safety of all airspace users, such as the upgrades of navigation management systems and the integration of remote digital traffic control for regional airports.
  • Solid financing system. The financing system we set up guarantees sound funding for the next 5 years, allowing skeyes to continue to invest in innovative technologies and human capital. skeyes has evolved into a modern and prominent organisation within the public sector, becoming one of the leading ANSPs in Europe. This contract confirms the Belgian State’s confidence in skeyes’ budgetary policy. The management contract guarantees continuity. 
  • Developing economically viable unmanned aviation. skeyes will continue to support the emerging sector of unmanned aviation. As coordinator of the BURDI project, aimed at the deployment of a U-space airspace, skeyes contributes effectively to the development of an economically viable drone sector. As a Common Information Service Provider, skeyes will ensure the data exchange between manned and unmanned aviation to create a secure environment for both branches.
  • Reducing environmental impact. The contract provides resources for skeyes to continue its efforts in reducing the ecological and environmental impact of aviation by, inter alia, rolling out Continuous Descent Operations (CDO) and green approach procedures, reducing aircraft fuel consumption and emissions. skeyes aims to reach GreenATM level 4, which confirms that it achieves measurable reductions in both its own operations and those of its customers, the airspace users. In addition, skeyes put together a common roadmap with Belgian Defence to minimise obstacles to the deployment of renewable energy through wind turbines.
  • Securing our critical infrastructure. Being aware of the radar and air navigation infrastructure’s safety and the potential impact of disruption to our country’s economy, skeyes implements all necessary protective measures to safeguard these systems from physical and cyber threats. 
  • Correct compensation for airport services. The clear financing of services of general interest provided by skeyes is crucial to keeping the financial system in order.
  • Partner with our stakeholders. skeyes stands out as a loyal partner for all its stakeholders. Air traffic control is an essential link in the wheelwork of Belgian aviation, the second most important pillar of the country’s economy. skeyes wants to continue to play its social role. 
  • Military and civil integration. skeyes will continue to expand its cooperation with Belgian Defence in the future to optimise airspace and improve civil-military integration, creating economies of scale and enabling better security of our airspace.

This new management contract marks an important step forward for skeyes and leaves room for growth, innovation and sustainability in the coming years.