David Learmount/LONDON

Air traffic in Europe is increasing faster than estimated in Eurocontrol's long-term planning, which does not augur well when it admits that it cannot meet demand now. In its annual report for 1999, Eurocontrol's senior director of the European Air Traffic Management Programme (EATMP) Wolfgang Philipp questions whether the organisation can be expected to meet continually increasing demand.

Eurocontrol confirms that, by 2015, air traffic in Europe is expected to increase by 98% compared with 1998 figures. This assumes the "baseline" forecast average growth of 4% a year. If growth reaches the "high scenario" of 5% a year, the traffic increase will be 126%, says Eurocontrol. In fact, the traffic growth in 1999 was 6% and the organisation's recent estimate for 2000 so far is that movements are increasing by more than 7%.

The report makes it clear, however, that it is not Eurocontrol's task to play any part in limiting ATM growth except for safety or other operational reasons. Any decision to restrict growth, Eurocontrol says, would rest firmly in the political domain.

Source: Flight International