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A4E calls for airspace reform as new report underlines issues across Europe

By  Brussels,

A report published yesterday by EUROCONTROL highlights the need for radical change to how airspace is managed across Europe.

In a series of comparisons between the US and Europe’s air traffic management, the report draws the striking conclusion that the processes and technology used to manage flights across Europe have not evolved – ignoring what is required to ensure smooth traffic across our skies.

Compared to the US, which has controlled notably more flights, the European airspace remains fragmented, negatively impacting both the way flights are managed and impacting on costs for passengers.

The report comes three years after the European Commission’s recasting of the Single European Sky 2+ package, with little progress made since, and the compromises in the legislation mean it is falling further behind what is needed.

A4E welcomes the vision for a Single European Sky but, as this report underlines, there is a pressing need to take a bigger step forward towards a more efficient Air Traffic Management service.

Ourania Georgoutsakou said:

“EUROCONTROL’s report echoes a point Europe’s airlines have been making for decades – our airspace is fragmented, outdated and in dire need of reform.

“There is no better depiction of the complex grid that is our continent’s airspace than this report’s statistic that Europe’s airlines must try to negotiate their way through no fewer than 40 air navigation service providers, compared to just one in the United States.

“EUROCONTROL itself concludes the current Single European Sky framework has not reduced the operational issues our airlines have to deal with on a daily basis, resulting in delays and needless additional emissions.

“We’re not calling for a single air service navigation provider approach for Europe; but a simpler approach is sorely needed and if the EU does not address this issue once and for all it will be passengers who suffer most. So, we once again call for it to end decades of dithering and clear up our congested skies.”

The US has just one service provider which puts an emphasis on traffic management however, Europe’s airport demand levels are self-controlled which EUROCONTROL notes, results in major delays and cancellations. The wider implication is any “extra” time required in flight burns through fuel and has huge impact of the environment.

As the report highlights, the EU aviation industry needs an updated regulatory framework to increase capacity and improve airspace efficiency. This will ensure maximum connectivity for EU citizens, but most importantly, lead to maximum efficiency and reductions in CO2 emissions.