Alitalia chairman Fausto Cereti has pledged to place engine emissions and air traffic control (ATC) delays at the top of his agenda when he takes over as the chairman of the Association of European Airlines (AEA) this year.

In a speech setting out his objectives as the head of the AEA, Cereti, who is due to take over from Lufthansa chairman Jurgen Weber, said the association wanted to assist the efforts of the European Commission to reduce the aviation industry's adverse impact on the environment.

He warned, however, that, "-as operators, we can only do so much within the constraints of available technology and airport and airspace infrastructure".

The AEA is planning to step up pressure on Eurocontrol and other ATC agencies. Shortcomings in air traffic handling are believed to add an estimated 6-12% to the levels of emissions. The delays result in the imposition of heavy cost penalties on operators.

Last year was the second worst ever for AEA punctuality, with Eurocontrol having recorded a 39% increase in ATC-imposed delays in mid-1998, compared with the previous year.

Source: Flight International