EUROCONTROL and ACI EUROPE signed a wide-ranging cooperative agreement, which commits the two organisations to joint action to enhance the capacity of airport infrastructure across Europe.
The agreement was signed in Berlin by David McMillan, Director General of EUROCONTROL and Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE, on the occasion of Airport Exchange 2008. As part of the agreement, EUROCONTROL and ACI EUROPE will work on implementing collaborative ground processes, such as collaborative decision-making (CDM) between airport operators, airlines and Air Navigation Service Providers at more than 40 European airports. This will allow for a more efficient and fully optimised use of existing airport facilities, which in turn will reduce fuel burn and emissions from aircraft both on the ground and in the air. This agreement coincides with EUROCONTROLs announcement of the key findings of the latest edition of the comprehensive study Challenges of Growth (2008) which highlights the fact that Europe continues to face an airport capacity crunch in the long term. The report, due for release in November, foresees that despite the current upheaval in air transport and in the economy more widely, demand for air services will continue to grow and is expected to double reaching 20.4 million flights by 2030. The lack of matching airport capacity will, by that time, result in nearly 2.5 million flights unaccommodated and at least 19 European airports fully saturated. With one in every two flights scheduled to pass through one of these hugely congested airports, delays could potentially skyrocket. Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI EUROPE said Our cooperation aims at addressing crucial short-term and long-term challenges for European aviation. It is about improving airport operations to allow airlines saving money, for example by reducing the aircraft taxiing time on the ground. At the same time, it is about delaying congestion as much as possible and planning for future developments in the most effective way. He added: Ultimately, we all know that optimising existing airport capacity will not be enough and the study to be released by EUROCONTROL again sends a warning signal about the need for new infrastructure. David McMillan, Director General EUROCONTROL said Decision-makers need reliable data from trustworthy sources so that they can construct their policies effectively. The new Challenges of Growth study underlines that regardless of the economic situation, the demand for air travel will be there. He added: We can not afford to let ourselves be stymied by capacity problems. The agreement we signed today with ACI EUROPE lays the foundation for an improved partnership with airports, a partnership that will help us build the agile transport system that can deliver on citizens expectations.