Airlines lament European ATM inefficiency

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Airlines have joined the European Commission in lamenting the continent's air traffic management inefficiency, and are calling for EU states to push the Single European Sky initiative up their political agenda.

The absence of a unified ATM system throughout European airspace costs the air transport industry €14 million a day, said Bernard Gustin, chairman of the Association of European Airlines, speaking yesterday at a high level conference on the SES in Limassol, Cyprus.

At the conference, organised by the European Economic and Social Committee, transport commissioner Siim Kallas advanced the idea of a so-called Single European Sky II+ to concentrate on bringing down operating costs, cleaning up and modernising existing regulation, and improving both operational performance and institutional efficiency "as triggers for the much needed economic growth in the European aviation sector".

The AEA says it deplores the fact that the efficiencies available from operating a unified ATM system are still elusive some nine years after the Single European Sky initiative was launched and fifteen years after the AEA first proposed the rationalisation of European airspace.

Gustin, also the chief executive officer of Brussels Airlines, adds: "We expect more commitment from the member states and a reinforced regulation from the European Commission, which will not only strengthen economic regulation at EU level but will also open up the market to ancillary services.

"A more top-down approach led by the Commission and an effective sanction mechanism are needed to achieve the SES high-level goals."