Friday, January 30, 2004

Europe under a single sky

(Scotsman, via Drudge)

Europe’s long-awaited "single sky" plans were approved this afternoon, promising lower air fares, fewer delays and improved airline safety.

A deal between Euro MPs and governments paves the way for streamlining air traffic management – effectively removing national "borders" in the sky.

Liberal Democrat MEP Marieke Sanders, who steered the legislation through the European Parliament, said: "This will lead to major improvements in safety, and should cut airline delays and aircraft emissions significantly.

"This is only the beginning of a long process towards improved air traffic management in Europe," [lacuna]

Europe's airport operators also welcomed the air traffic management reforms.

Philippe Hamon, Director General of Airports Council International Europe, representing 450 airports in 45 European countries, said: "With the goal of achieving a unified European airspace in 2005, the Single European Sky programme allows for a much needed reorganisation of Europe's air traffic control system. This initiative will ultimately benefit the air passenger by improving safety, reducing flight times and delays, as well as decreasing fuel consumption."

The accord ends the current patchwork of air traffic control sectors in Europe and co-ordinates air traffic control services and operation standards.

That includes closer cooperation between national military air sectors to limit the costly and time-consuming detours civilian planes often have to make to meet varying national requirements on no-fly zones.



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