This commentary focuses on the challenges facing the implementation of the Single European Sky (SES) initiative. Intended to reduce the inefficiencies of air travel across the region, SES represents an attempt to transcend national systems of airspace management, replacing them with an organisationally and technologically integrated pan-continental system. So far, however, outcomes have not fully matched the original vision of SES. In this commentary I consider how outcomes to date reflect tensions between technocratic visions on one hand, and political and economic interests on the other. In outlining these tensions, I demonstrate how SES represents a fruitful problematique for geographic inquiry.