European Airspace Issues Top Agenda at EBACE Opener

 - May 21, 2013, 2:04 PM

Few punches were pulled as speakers took on the challenges facing business aviation in Europe at today’s EBACE opening session, with government policies and outdated infrastructure the primary targets.

EBAA CEO Fabio Gamba criticized the European airspace system. “We have reached the limits of the air transport system, conceived 70 years ago, when they couldn’t see the diversity and volume of traffic,” he said. “We’re seeing cracks in the system.”

European Commission vice president for mobility and transport Siim Kallas addressed the functional airspace blocks plan that was designed to replace the EU’s 27-member nations’ air traffic management responsibilities, but that has only added to the confusion. “The situation is far behind expectations,” he told attendees.

SESAR managing director Patrick Ky, who will soon be leading EASA, hit on an underlying problem: “People ask, ‘Do we really need to invest and modernize Europe’s air traffic control system?” His presentation effectively answered this by showcasing the many shortcomings of current operations.

In his conclusion, Gamba said, “As frustrated as we may be with current conditions, I’m convinced of an exciting future ahead. But for it to materialize, we must lay out the essential conditions for that to occur.”