Greater flexibility required to adjust to unfavourable economic conditions

The EUROCONTROL Performance Review Commission (PRC) has issued its Performance Review Report for the year 2009, which was marked by an unprecedented traffic downturn. It presents an assessment of the performance of European Air Navigation Services (ANS) under the Key Performance Areas of Safety, Punctuality & Predictability, Capacity & Delays, Flight Efficiency, Environmental impact, and Cost-Effectiveness
The report highlights that: While there is a continuous increase in the reporting of incidents in many States, the number of reporting States remains relatively low and has not increased in the last five years. Not all the States have taken the necessary measures to achieve a fully non-punitive reporting system and just culture should be implemented where this is not already the case. States and ANSPs should use automatic detection and reporting tools so as to further improve the transparency of ANS safety. Increases in en-route delays over the period 2003-2008 nearly cancelled out the benefits of improvements in cost-effectiveness, hence the need for a balanced approach to performance. Issues leading to high delays in the top 30 delay generating sectors have to be resolved urgently. Given the severe economic downturn, there is a need to effectively implement the planned cost containment measures so that they materialise into genuine cost-savings for airspace users and contribute to improving the total economic cost of ANS. The design and use of airspace for both civil and military needs has to be further improved and a more effective use of airspace released to civil operations has to be made. Airport stakeholders should constructively engage in the PRC-led process of development of indicators and targets addressing operational performance at and around airports and in the building of a comprehensive and reliable database that can adequately support it. The economic downturn has affected the aviation community throughout 2009 with unprecedented severity, requiring greater flexibility on air navigation service providers and EUROCONTROL to adjust to new unfavourable economic conditions. In this context, the pressure to genuinely improve cost-effectiveness is high on the agenda of airspace users expectations, says John Arscott, Chairman of the PRC. The full report is available here: www.eurocontrol.int/prc
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