Economic and environmental benefits of the Single European Sky (SES) system are highly dependent on swift implementation of the measure, according to a new report.
The report, which was carried out by international management consultants McKinsey, cautioned that any delay from the planned introduction of SES, which is designed to lead to more efficient routings of aircraft, would substantially reduce the benefits it produces.
With air traffic being an important enabler of economic growth the nominal benefits of SES, if introduced as scheduled from 2013, would include €419 billion ($608 billion) in improvements to the European Union's GDP in the 2013-30 period, plus 328,000 more jobs in the air transport sector and through indirect and induced benefits.
It would also lead to 50% fewer flight cancellations and delays, and a reduction of 50 million tons of carbon dioxide over the same period.
There would still be a reduction in CO2 emissions despite the growth in air transport over the period out to 2030.
However, the report continued: "The benefits of SESAR are extremely sensitive to its implementation timeline and co-ordination. Any negative departure from the timeline...would put significant benefits at risk.
"A 10-year delay would result in loss of benefits estimated at €268 billion of GDP, the non-creation of 189,000 jobs and the loss of 55 million tons of CO2 emissions saving."
A 'desynchronised' implementation of SES would also result in benefits being reduced, although by lesser amounts, said the report. It called for the establishment of "a clear, Europe-wide governance for the deployment of SESAR, allowing for central co-ordination" and "the definition of public funding-incentive mechanisms to push for early adoption, both in the air and on the ground".