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AEA Pressrelease 11 Dec.08

‘Will the Member States deliver what the legislative package promises?’ ask the airlines

A new and important step has been taken along the tortuous path towards a borderless sky over Europe.

The endorsement of the second package of Single European Sky measures (SES II) by the European Parliament’s Transport Committee has been welcomed by the Association of European Airlines. It was AEA who, in 1989, were the first to propose a radical overhaul of the patchwork of national airspaces which generate delay, hugely inflate costs and contribute to millions of tonnes of unnecessary carbon emissions every year.

The first step in the process is the creation of so-called Functional Airspace Blocks – FABs – which bring together individual national airspaces into bigger units. Nine of these FABs have been designated, to coordinate the work of more than 50 en-route control centres

Said AEA Secretary General Ulrich: “Now we have the regulatory framework falling into place, it is imperative that work begins on the organisational and operational aspects of the FABs without delay. There is no reason why the FABs should not be up and running within three years, and we would like to see binding targets to make sure this happens”.

Mr Schulte-Strathaus was referring to another aspect of SES II – a performance framework subject to independent assessment. “For all their supra-national character, the FABs are an amalgamation of national systems and service providers. It is important that national interests are set aside in the functioning of the Blocks, and that target setting and quality assessment are not carried out by the bodies which are being assessed”, he said.

The primary function of air traffic management is safety. “This is one area where the current system operates superbly”, continued Mr Schulte-Strathaus, “but at the price of severely diminished efficiency, as far too many disparate systems have to be made to function harmoniously”. The Single European Sky would deliver safety at an even higher level, he said, at a lower cost, with reduced controller workload, and with a huge benefit to the environment. “This project, if fully and conscientiously implemented, can reduce European airlines’ carbon footprint by 12%, making it one of the most important environmental initiatives in Europe today”.

For further information, please contact:
Françoise Humbert
General Manager Communications
Phone: +32(0) 2 639 89 93
Email: francoise.humbert@aea.be

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