The Borders of European Airspace

Special Report: Networks and Borders: Geopolitics (II)
Technical and Territorial Challenges in European Airspace Control
By Antoine Beyer

The paper analyses the geography of European airspace borders as the result of technical and political choices. Growing traffic and increasing integration within the European Union lead to redefine the partition of airspace. Formerly based on national borders, airspace borders increasingly result from a more functional and transnational approach. The new legislation package adopted in 2004 and known as the Single European Sky package set a completely new scene, where cooperation between neighbouring countries and civil/military air management are highly recommended. The continental airspace will soon be divided into integrated Functional Airspace Blocks (FAB), largely independent from national considerations. In this context, the paper addresses two questions : how are the borders of the emerging airspace regions technically and politically redefined all over Europe ? and what does this restructuring tell about the process of territorial construction of the European Union ?

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