11/06/2013 at 16:30
Where: Strasbourg, France
Topic: Business | Environment, consumers and health
Organiser: European Commission
The European Commission will next Tuesday present proposals to speed up the reform of Europe's air traffic control system. Inefficiencies in Europe's fragmented airspace bring extra costs of close to 5 billion Euros each year to airlines and their customers. They add 42 kilometres to the distance of an average flight forcing aircraft to burn more fuel, generate more emissions, pay more in costly user charges and suffer greater delays. The United States controls the same amount of airspace, with more traffic, at almost half the cost.
European skies and airports risk saturation. Already some 1.4 billion passengers pass through Europe's more than 440 airports every year. Each day there are around 27,000 controlled flights – that means about 9 million cross Europe's skies each year. 80% of these flights are operated within the EU.
The central problem is that Europe's air traffic management systems are fragmented and inefficient.
In the late 1990s, proposals were formed to create a Single European Sky (SES), removing national boundaries in the air, to create a single airspace:
a) improving safety tenfold,
b) tripling airspace capacity,
c) reducing air traffic management costs by 50%,
d) reducing the environmental impact by 10%.
16.30 Press conference by Vice-President Siim Kallas (pressroom, Strasbourg).