BRUSSELS, June 4 (UPI) -- Military airlift operations in Europe have been simplified by the European Defense Agency, using a diplomatic clearance web portal, officials said.
The portal implements a technical arrangement signed by 13 countries -- Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and Norway -- for common provisions and harmonized procedures for over-flights and landings.
"Its main purpose is to provide transparency on national policies and procedures for granting diplomatic clearances for transport aircraft," EDA said. "The portal will also list annual clearance numbers to be used as well as restrictions nations might have regarding certain areas or routings.
Under a new arrangement, EDA members do not need to submit a diplomatic clearance request for each flight that transits the territory of another member. Instead, annual clearances are issued, covering as much as 95 percent of daily military transport missions executed above the territories of the signing countries.
The accord also harmonizes the requirements for requests and notifications of clearances and uses a common diplomatic clearance form.
"The new diplomatic clearances agreement radically changes the way (EDA) member states deal with the issue," said Peter Round, capabilities director of the European Defense Agency. "It allows substantial human and financial resource savings while making military transport operations more swift and efficient."