International Air Transport Association president Giovanni Bisignani and Airbus chief executive Tom Enders separately slammed progress on the Single European Sky concept for the continent's air traffic management at the third Aviation & Environment Summit in Geneva on 23 April.

In his keynote address, Bisignani said "embarrassing" is the "most polite word that I can find for Europe's failure to implement a Single European Sky that could deliver 12 million tonnes of CO2 savings. We have had nearly 20 years of talks and no results. Finally, now we are starting to see some change. By 2012 we expect to have functional airspace blocks based on technical capabilities, not political boundaries."

And he warned that the failure to deliver threatened to undermine the European Commission's proposed emissions trading scheme if airlines had to buy more credits because of inefficiencies in the system.

"Europe's national governments do not understand the urgency of implementing a Single European Sky," he said. "We cannot be expected to purchase allowances for fuel we do not want to burn."

Enders remarks came as he sat on a panel discussing the signing of an industry commitment to action on climate change. Insisting that the industry was suffering unfair criticism as a result of matters for which it could not be blamed, he said: "The situation regarding the Single European Sky is scandalous. If the European Commission would put the same effort into this as they do into emissions trading then that would be very good."

Source: Flight International