The European Parliament’s transport committee today blocked the European Commission’s proposals on flight and duty time limitations for commercial pilots flying within the European Union.
Pilots and air traffic controllers within the European Union (EU) are applauding the European Parliament transport committee’s September 17 agreement to refine procedures necessary to establish a practical framework to collect and analyze aviation incident data and guarantee private information is not misused.
The European Commission has staked a claim to play a larger role in European defense industrial policy.
Economic woes risk crippling Europe’s rollout schedule of a revolutionary system that could transform regional air travel because airlines are simply too wary to invest at a time of low growth.
Europe has now spent millions in developing a blueprint for a nigh-on perfect system with which to manage an eventual albeit belated explosion in the number of aircraft traveling through its congested skies.
The European Commission is taking to task the vast majority of its 27 nation states for their lack of progress in forging the Single European Sky through a program to unify regional airspace.
Inefficiencies caused by Europe’s fragmented airspace generate extra costs of close to €5 billion each year, adding 42 kilometers (27 miles) to the distance of an average flight, and forcing aircraft to burn more fuel, generate more emissions, pay more in user charges and incur delays. The U.S. controls the same amount of airspace, with more traffic, at almost half the cost.
Patrick Ky, who has led the Single European Sky ATM Research (Sesar) program through its development phase, has been named executive director of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), effective September 1. Ky will succeed Patrick Goudou, who has headed the European safety authority based in Cologne, Germany, since it was created in September 2003.
European Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas admitted to excessively slow progress on the Single European Sky (SES) last week and characterized Russia’s continued charges for Siberian overflights as unacceptable. He has threatening European Union member states with legal action over their failure to carry out their respective SES responsibilities. Separately, he is planning a March 21 meeting in Moscow to pressure Russian authorities to address what he views as “unfair” overflight fees.
The Single European Sky ATM Research (Sesar) effort, Europe’s equivalent of NextGen in the U.S., is making progress as a research and development program “but it is not yet a successful modernization program,” according to the man directing its development phase.
European Union member states failed to meet a December 4 deadline to begin operating regional air traffic management blocks as required by Single European Sky (SES) regulations dating to March 2004. Airline trade groups joined in condemning the states over the missed deadline.
The business aviation lobby broadly welcomed the European Commission’s sudden suspension of the application of its controversial emissions trading scheme (ETS) for flights in and out of the European Union (EU). The move seems to head off the immediate threat of a trade war with major powers such as the U.S., China, Russia, India and Japan but, significantly, ETS will still apply to intra-EU flights, regardless of whether or not the operators involved are based in the EU.