Shock at member states' inability to co-operate during the April volcanic ash crisis has prompted the European Union to held its first high-level strategy meeting aimed at ensuring a healthy commercial air transport sector in the future.

On 20 October, European Commission vice-president Siim Kallas met representatives of airlines, airports, air traffic service providers and aircraft manufacturers "to discuss future challenges for aviation in Europe".

The EC has designated this assembly of experts a permanent body, to be known as "the Aviation Platform", which will meet twice a year "to give strategic advice to the vice-president in order to establish the basis for a sustainable future for air transport and a competitive future for the European aviation industry".

While the move is a response to the massive economic damage inflicted by April's airspace closures, the specific arrangements to deal with atmospheric ash over Europe are being handled by other specialist bodies.

The work of the Aviation Platform will span the industry as a whole, and its campaigning will target full implementation - and extension - of the Single Sky initiative, improved governance of the SESAR research programme, negotiation of new bilateral agreements by the EC, and establishment of a high-level aviation research group.

Source: Flight International