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AEA Pressrelease 8 Oct.08

Consumers, airlines and the environment will all benefit – ‘Why delay?’ asks Peter Hartman

Peter Hartman, CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and current Chairman of the Association of European Airlines, delivered a clear message to a high-level audience of policy-makers and aviation industry leaders in Brussels today: “deliver a Single European Sky, or perpetuate an archaic air traffic management [ATM] system which wastes passengers’ time, wastes airlines’ money and stands in the way of huge environmental benefits”.

The Seminar, organised by the European Commission and chaired by Commission Vice-President responsible for Transport, Antonio Tajani, comes at a time when a package of measures on the Single Sky is being prepared for legislative action at Council of Ministers level.

Mr Hartman reminded his audience that this was the second such package of measures. The first, dating from 2004, had created a basic legislative framework but had failed to deliver any results due to a lack of political will. EU Member States, he said, must commit to this latest package and avoid watering-down its components “or SES II will collapse like a house of cards”.

The stakes, he said, could scarcely be higher. European ATM inefficiency was estimated to cost the airline industry €5 billion a year – an unaffordable figure at the best of times and a crippling burden during the ongoing industry crisis. The amount of CO2 emissions which could be avoided by an efficient system was a staggering 16 million tonnes annually – a huge step towards the industry’s environmental objective of carbon-neutral growth.

Mr Hartman reiterated the airlines’ vision of ATM regions defined by traffic flows and demand patterns rather than national borders, within which civil and military authorities should cooperate effectively. The system should have performance targets monitored by an independent review body, and should incorporate effective industry consultation.

Peter Hartman contrasted the lukewarm political response to the Single European Sky, bringing demonstrable benefits for the environment, with the much more questionable impact of the Emissions Trading Scheme. “Without the Single Sky”, he said, “We would be required to buy permits for the fuel we waste flying zigzag routings and holding patterns caused by airspace inefficiencies”.

The Single Sky, he said, was a prime example of a trans-European initiative of cohesion and cooperation, benefiting European competitiveness and mobility, adding value for citizens and for the environment. “I defy any EU national government to justify why it should not fully commit itself to this project”.

For further information, please contact:
David Henderson, Manager Information
Phone : +32(0) 2 639 89 72 - Email: david.henderson@aea.be - www.aea.be

Note to the Editor: The Association of European Airlines (AEA) brings together 35 European established service and scheduled network carriers. These collectively carry 380 million passengers and 7 million tonnes of cargo each year, operating 2,660 aircraft serving 615 destinations in 165 countries with 11,865 flights a day. They provide around 426,000 jobs directly, and generate a total turnover of €79 billion.

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