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Matthias Finger, Marc Baumgartner and Engin Zeki

This chapter presents a comprehensive and systemic understanding of the challenges that ATM is facing today. In particular, we look at the case of Europe, where misaligned interests of the main actors have led to a trial-and-error approach, transforming European ATM into an interesting laboratory due to the elaborate system of Europe-wide rules and regulations. The chapter describes the history and main functions of ATM. It provides a conceptual framework that focuses on institutions and technology from a socio-technical perspective. The “European ATM laboratory” is presented along with the EC’s SES initiative. Evolution in European ATM is discussed with the identification of major technological developments. Specifically, disruptive technologies are expected to shift the paradigm of European ATM from legacy systems to modern service-oriented architectures. Experimentation with these disruptions, complemented with EU rules and regulations, may eventually lead to a way out of the SES gridlock.