Aside from announcing a raft of measures providing assistance to European Union airlines, Brussels also revealed details of its Single Sky Initiative along with further security measures it wished to see implemented. The single European sky scheme is designed to come into force by 31 December 2004 and is aimed at consolidating the region's upper airspace.

The Commission has adopted a wide-ranging package of objectives based on six key areas: creation of a strong regulator; integration of military and civil management; joint airspace management; synergy between the EU and Eurocontrol; technology introduction and improved human resources policy co-ordination.

In terms of security, the Commission stated it wished to see the "adoption and promotion of common EU security rules for civil aviation", particularly with regard to "sensitive" airport and aircraft access, control of passengers, hand baggage, cargo, mail and control of ground staff as well as a definition of the equipment necessary for such controls. Various types of weapons should also be classified.

The Commission has equally proposed that each airport and operator be controlled by a national security authority. This in turn would be monitored by multi-national teams of inspectors backed up by a four-strong body from Brussels.

Source: Flight International