Danube FAB

The Functional Airspace Block (FAB) between the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania (DANUBE FAB) was established with the signing by the Ministers of Transport of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania on 12 December 2011 of Inter-State Agreement, which entered into force on 16 November 2012, following ratification by the parliaments of both countries and abiding by the final date 4 December 2012, set by the European Commission for establishment of FABs in Europe.

The establishment of DANUBE FAB is an essential element of the Single European Sky (SES) legislative framework which creates a system of measures for provision of sufficient capacity for servicing the increasing number of flights over Europe, decreasing delays, improving safety and cost-efficiency of the air navigation services, while reducing the impact on the environment.  

Governing Structure

DANUBE FAB has the following governing structure:

The highest governing body of DANUBE FAB is the Governing Council (GC) which reviews issues related to the DANUBE FAB development and provides strategic guidance for future actions. The Governing Council is supported by National Supervisory Authority Board (NSA Board) and Air Navigation Services Providers Board (ANSP Board).  

The DANUBE FAB Airspace Policy Body monitors the application of Flexible Use of Airspace in the Cross-Border Sectors for air traffic services within the FAB.

Main items

  • BULATSA, together with the air navigation services providers of Romania and Hungary –  ROMATSA and HungaroControl, expanded the Free Route Airspace for flights during the night within the airspace of the three countries. The SEEN FRA (South-East Night Free Route Airspace) project represents the second phase of a large-scale project for introduction of Free Route Airspace within DANUBE FAB. SEEN FRA enables the aircraft to fly freely between published points and radio-navigation means, irrespective of the existing airspace route system. The project significantly optimizes the airspace routes without limitations from the state borders and reduces the fuel costs and the emissions from aviation. The improvement of airspace organization within DANUBE FAB is a priority task for the joint Bulgarian and Romanian team of the functional block. To this end the teams conduct constant studies and large-scale simulations to assess different scenarios for route organization, taking into consideration the indicators flight efficiency, safety, capacity, etc.
  • In the period 7 – 9 March 2017 the DANUBE FAB partner ANSPs – BULATSA and ROMATSA demonstrated the practical benefits of their cooperation through jointly exhibiting at the World ATM Congress 2017 in Madrid. DANUBE FAB made a demonstration of its main achievements – establishment of cross-border sectors, introduction of Free Route Airspace (FRA) and the active role of the cooperation with other FABs. Among the people who expressed interest in the demonstration were Mr. Henrick Hololei, Director General of DG MOVE at the European Commission, and Mr. Massimo Garbini, Managing Director of SESAR Deployment Manager. In addition to that, the Director Generals of BULATSA and ROMATSA hosted a debate on the subject “The Future of Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs)” at the DANUBE FAB stand. In the discussion participated senior representatives of FABs in Europe and the Head of Single European Sky unit at the European Commission Mr. Maurizio Castelletti. Within the Congress was also signed a Memorandum of Understanding between DANUBE FAB partner ANSPs BULATSA and ROMATSA, and Aireon LLC. The Memorandum establishes a cooperation framework for discussion of potential deployment of space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (“ADS-B”) surveillance services.
  • Since 2015 the Republic of Macedonia has been participating, with observer status, in the regular meetings of the DANUBE FAB Governing Council, which contributes to one of the long-term SES goals – expanding the SES policy towards countries outside of EU. 
  • DANUBE FAB is an active participant in the newly formed platform for cooperation between FABs in Europe (InterFab Coordination Platform). The purpose of the platform is coordination between the nine established FABs to share experience and ideas for coordinated development of FABs in Europe. DANUBE FAB regularly participates in expert workshops within the platform.
  • A key achievement of DANUBE FAB is the establishment in 2014 of two cross-border sectors for air traffic services, which was the first step of such kind within a functional airspace block in Europe. The two cross-border sectors have been established on the basis of the operational requirements for optimal use of airspace, regardless of the national borders. The introduction of cross-border sectors between Bulgaria and Romania represents a new stage towards the defragmentation of European airspace – a primary goal of SES;
  • Within DANUBE FAB has been set up organization for conduction of joint public procurements for the purposes of streamlining the technical infrastructure and improving the cost efficiency through economies of scale.

    Within the functional block has been created a Social Consultation Forum of DANUBE FAB with the social partners of BULATSA and ROMATSA. The last, twelfth meeting of the forum took place on 7 June 2017 in Plovdiv.

For additional information:

Functional airspace blocks (FABs) – Transport:


Danube FAB:


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