Key stakeholders of the aviation industry met yesterday to discuss the way forward for the Single European Sky project at the Public Hearing organised by the European Economic and Social Committee. The first attempts to create a Single European Sky for Europe date back to 2004, fifteen years after AEA first proposed the rationalisation of European airspace, but so far no major achievements have been realised.
Following his speech at the High-level Conference on the Single European Sky in Limassol, yesterday Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas presented once again the idea of a so-called Single European Sky II+. This will be based on the existing initiative but will provide further guidance for its implementation. It is expected to address issues such as bringing down operating costs, cleaning up and modernising existing regulation, and improving both operational performance and institutional efficiency as triggers for the much needed economic growth in the European aviation sector.
The Single European Sky is a key element to deliver results for these aspects.
“At present the non-existent Single Sky in Europe costs some €14 million per day resulting in a permanent erosion of the competitiveness of European air transport” emphasised Bernard Gustin, CEO of Brussels Airlines and Chairman of the Association of European Airlines in his keynote speech during the event. “We expect more commitment from the Member States and a reinforced regulation from the European Commission, which will not only strengthen economic regulation at EU level but will also open up the market to ancillary services. A more top-down approach led by the Commission and an effective sanction mechanism are needed to achieve the SES high-level goals. Ensuring that SES II+ achieves tangible results and brings added value to the stakeholders must be a top priority for the European Commission in 2013. At this point in time institutional changes such as the extension of EASA should not be on the top of the agenda”.