Single European Sky must be implemented without further delay
Newly adopted European Parliament’s resolution emphasizes the need to urgently merge national air traffic control spaces in Europe.
According to MPEs, it needs to be done in order to clear congestion, boost safety, reduce flight times, delays and fares, create jobs and cut CO2 emissions. They want the Commission to put pressure on member states, including possible sanctions, to meet their obligations.
The Single European Sky initiative was launched in 2004 to reform the architecture of European air traffic management. Its key objectives are to restructure European airspace to create additional capacity and increase the overall efficiency and safety of air traffic.
"Defragmentation of European air space is unacceptably slow,” said Jacqueline Foster (European Conservatives and Reformists, UK) during the plenary debate, calling on member states for "greater urgency in order to avoid possible safety and operational risks with increasing traffic flows."
The Commission estimates that the full and swift deployment of the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) technology would lead to the creation of 328,000 jobs and cut CO2 emissions by 50 million tonnes.
Passengers and airlines would benefit from cost reductions as congestion would be relieved. Flight times would be cut by 10% on average and cancellations and delays would be halved.
In order to evolve progressively towards a single European sky, member states made firm commitments to merge their national air control spaces into nine Functional Airspace Blocks (FAB) by 4 December 2012. Only two such blocks, however, are ready in the Scandinavian skies and over Ireland and the UK.
To speed up the process, MEPs call for performance indicator schemes to be implemented. They also ask the Commission to adopt a top-down approach by proposing new legislation, including possible sanctions and, where necessary, EU funding.