Julian Moxon/PARIS

EUROCONTROL has agreed on the basic details for the creation of a common centre for the control of upper airspace in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and northern Italy.

Legal, operational and financial principles for the Central European Air Traffic Services (CEATS) centre have been settled, with final agreement expected this year. The agreement is a major step in the creation of CEATS, although important political details, such as which country will host the centre, have to be settled.

Other difficulties also remain to be resolved. Some states are pressing for other neighbouring countries, such as Bosnia-Herzo- govina, to be included in CEATS. A further problem is Italy's continued non-membership of Euro-control, although this is expected to be resolved early in 1995. Spain, Slovenia and Romania have also been accepted for membership.

Air-traffic delays in the Euro-control area increased during 1994 by 7.8% over 1993, mainly because of the strikes of controllers in southern France during the summer. A 5% increase in traffic put extra pressure on a system, which Eurocontrol describes as "already hard-pressed".

The organisation says that the introduction of the central flow-management system in May 1995 "...will go a long way towards relieving the strain".

Progress with the European Air Traffic Control Harmonisation and Integration Programme (Eatchip) was such that areas not covered by radar were reduced by more than 11% in 1994, leaving virtually no areas in Europe uncovered, while areas with more than single radar coverage have increased by 8%.

Source: Flight International