After low-cost carriers, business aviation now ranks number two in Eurocontrol’s latest traffic statistics. “Not long ago, business aviation was not even on the radar screen of the agency and other decision makers,” European Business Aviation Association chief executive Eric Mandemaker told attendees at the general and business aviation annual forum held at the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation in Brussels recently.
Eurocontrol’s upper-area control center at Maastricht in the Netherlands on November 3 activated its new operations facility, which includes an advanced operator input and display system (ODS). The new color display equipment replaced a monochrome ODS that had been installed in the early 1980s. New “windowing” techniques should allow controllers to get a better view of the en route air-traffic situation.
ATC in Europe costs about 70 percent more than in the U.S., according to the 2001 annual report of the Eurocontrol Performance Review Commission (PRC) published in late July. The commission demanded fundamental reform of Eurocontrol’s user-charge formula, arguing that the agency’s constituent national ATC service providers currently have no real incentive to become more efficient.
Two years on from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Europe’s regional airlines are still struggling to recover from some of the toughest business conditions they’ve ever seen. But the European Commission (EC) keeps kicking them while they’re down, according to Mike Ambrose, director general of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA).
Egypt recently became the second North African nation to agree to give Eurocontrol responsibility for the billing and collection of its air navigation fees. Eurocontrol, based in Brussels, Belgium, collects and redistributes about E5 billion annually in route charges for its 32 member nations in Europe. Morocco signed on in January 2001.
The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) is looking for a new CEO to succeed Brian Humphries, who will become part-time president of the Brussels, Belgium-based group. Humphries took the chief executive’s position on a part-time basis in 2004, having previously been EBAA chairman while also serving as managing director of Shell Aviation.
As news about precision area navigation (more commonly referred to as PRnav) in Europe starts showing up in the aviation press, chief pilots and maintenance managers are asking how it will affect them and–perhaps more to the point–what it will cost. The short answer is that PRnav in Europe will affect operators as much as they choose to let it.
In December, the enhanced tactical flow management system data-distribution system (ETFMS-DDS) provided by German ATM supplier Comsoft successfully passed its site acceptance tests at the central flow management unit (CFMU) in Brussels. In a first phase during 2001/02, Comsoft implemented the ETFMS data-collection system (DCS) for Eurocontrol.
Eurocontrol won the 2004 ATC Maastricht Jane’s Award for its enhanced tactical flow management system (ETFMS), introduced in February 2002 by the central flow management unit (CFMU).
A European mandate calling for mode-S transponder upgrades in transport-category airplanes is causing confusion for some U.S. business jet operators as they struggle to interpret the rule’s fine print and decide whether it applies to them.