The economic doldrums have begun to markedly slow the phenomenal growth European regional carriers have enjoyed in recent years.
European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation
Businesses continue to increase the use of their aircraft–even if they are not in great numbers adding to their fleets–despite operational challenges in the name of security and access control. Representatives from U.S. and European aviation organizations discussed these and other issues at a presentation at last month’s European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva.
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).
Effective October 1, the FAA’s trials of controller/pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) at Miami will be no more. Citing high costs and limited operator participation, agency officials have decided to discontinue the trials until nationwide implementation can be achieved following completion of the en route automation modernization (ERAM) program, which is estimated to occur between 2009 and 2011.
Eurocontrol has confirmed it will definitely proceed with next year’s January 24 deadline for implementation of reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) in European airspace. The new 1,000-ft separation will apply between FL 290 and FL 410. Noncompliant aircraft (regardless of their state of registry) will be excluded from these flight levels.
Sharp rises in the number of airline flights originating from airports in the U.S. and Europe are presenting FAA and Eurocontrol officials with some daunting challenges. Chief among these is the question of how to squeeze more capacity from airports and ATC route systems that in some places already seem stretched to the breaking point.
Starting in November, countries in Europe will start requiring operators to be approved for Precision Rnav (PRnav) if they intend to use their Rnav equipment in terminal areas that have Rnav procedures.
Eurocontrol is evaluating proposals to introduce new “charging volumes for airspace” in which different ATC fees would apply for using different parts of Europe’s airspace. This would result in operators paying higher rates for using lower flight levels and particularly busy airspace sectors, such as those in southeast England.
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.
Eurocontrol has now admitted to Cessna that the Citation 560 was mistakenly included on a list of nine aircraft that were found not to have met “group” height-keeping requirements for reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM). The European air traffic control agency told the U.S. airframer that the problem was due to a measurement error on its part.