EUROCONTROL is the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation and is an intergovernmental organization working for seamless, pan-European air traffic management.


The organization was established in 1960 by six European States, i.e., Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, for the purpose of developing a coherent and coordinated air traffic control system in Europe. The EUROCONTROL International Convention relating to Co-operation for the Safety of Air Navigation was signed at Brussels on 13 December 1960 and entered into force on 1 March 1963. Four Member States (Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands) agreed in 1964 to set up a single international air traffic control centre to manage their upper airspace, finally settling on Maastricht in the Netherlands. In 2014, the organization had 40 Member States, counting the European Community as a member.


The Organization’s strategic objectives are classified in specific areas: Safety, Capacity, Efficiency, Security, and Environment. To achieve its mission and objectives, EUROCONTROL initiates, develops, and coordinates short-, medium- and long-term pan-European air traffic management strategies and their associated action plans. This is done in a collective effort involving civil and military aviation stakeholders (national authorities, air navigation service providers, civil and military airspace users, airports, industry, professional organizations), the European institutions (such as the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Community, the European Civil Aviation Conference, etc.), and international aviation bodies.


EUROCONTROL’s main offices are located as follows: the Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium; the Research Centre in Brétigny-sur-Orge, France; the Maastricht Upper Area Control (MUAC) centre in Maastricht, Netherlands; and the Training Institute in Luxembourg.


In Brussels on 25 May 2023, ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar and EUROCONTROL Director General Raúl Medina deepened the cooperation between the two organizations on the safety-vital topic of aircraft in distress. Their signature of letters tasks EUROCONTROL with the development and hosting of a Location of an Aircraft in Distress Repository (LADR) and an Operational Control Directory (OPS CTRL). Both will play a major part in assisting rescue efforts by coordinating all affected actors in the event of an aircraft in distress, supporting the ultimate goal of improving aircraft tracking and identifying distress situations during a flight in order to initiate a timely rescue operation. LADR is part of the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) that covers autonomous distress tracking equipment on aircraft airframes, and improved systems and procedures to collect and share last known aircraft location information. The OPS CTRL will facilitate the exchange of information between air operators, air navigation service providers and rescue coordination centres.

The GADSS concept was developed by ICAO, with the help of worldwide experts and European subject matter experts led by EUROCONTROL, following two high-profile incidents involving airliners that went missing triggering complex and highly costly search efforts: the crash of Air France Flight 447 on 1 June 2009 and the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 on 8 March 2014.

LADR will allow data submissions from accredited contributors in order to ensure all information related to the location of an aircraft in distress from suitably equipped aircraft is stored and made available to users. In case of an ‘aircraft in distress’ anywhere, anytime around the globe, LADR will provide a single point of access to the required information and notify the appropriate stakeholders, including aircraft operators, air navigation service providers and search and rescue, of a potential event.

An initial version of LADR with core functionality is expected to be delivered by the end of 2023, and an enhanced and scaled-up version that conforms with existing requirements is expected to be delivered by November 2024.


Cover sent from EUROCONTROL to the Chief, Personnel at ICAO – Postmarked on 10 November 1969.

The slogan indicates the location of prior headquarters at Rue de la Loi, Brussels.


Cover sent from EUROCONTROL to the French Delegation at ICAO – Postmarked on 7 May 1981.

The slogan indicates the location of prior headquarters at Rue de la Loi, Brussels.


Letter cut with EUROCONTROL’s machine slogan - Postmarked on 17 November 1996.


Slovenia – 22 January 1998 – First Day Cover - 25th anniversary of EUROCONTROL.


Cover sent to the Regional Affairs Office at ICAO, Montréal.

Hand-stamp indicating the address of the current Headquarters.


EUROCONTROL, Maastricht – Sticker.

Operated by EUROCONTROL on behalf of four European States, MUAC provides cross-border air navigation services in the upper airspace (above 24,500 feet, or 7,500 metres) of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and north-west Germany.