Council tackles issue of flight delays
On 3 December Norbert Hofer, the Austrian Federal Minister currently chairing the Council meetings in the area of transport, seized the occasion at the Council informal lunch to discuss the issue of delays in the aviation sector and the implementation of possible solutions with the 27 transport ministers, the Director General of EUROCONTROL and the European Commission.
In his introductory statement, Federal Minister Hofer explained that
“Europe was faced with unprecedented delays and cancellations. This situation must be addressed with the aim of re‑establishing the confidence of European citizens in Europe´s air transport reliability in order to avoid possible negative consequences for passengers as well as the European economy at large.”
Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport, said:
“Europe’s air traffic system is struggling to cope with the ever‑increasing volume of traffic and other disruptions. Last summer passengers experienced unprecedented delays and cancellations. Urgent action is needed on the short, medium and long term. This is the collective responsibility of the European institutions and all aviation stakeholders. I was very pleased to see the high level of commitment from the European ministers today. I’m now inviting them to swiftly implement the measures we discussed. The reputation of European aviation is at stake!”
Ministers of EU member states agreed on the fact that this topic should be addressed as soon as possible. EUROCONTROL, the Network Manager of the European Union, introduced into the debate a series of proposals for improving efficiency as early as 2019. These include, among other things, better cooperation between air navigation service providers, specific processes to manage bad weather conditions and the possible removal of structural airspace bottlenecks.
Eamonn Brennan, Director General of EUROCONTROL, said:
“We welcome the support of the ministers for short-term network measures for summer 2019 and also for longer‑term strategic measures, including airspace restructuring, technological advancements and strengthening the role of the EUROCONTROL Network Manager.”
Austrian Minister Norbert Hofer concluded by saying:
“Long-term measures are also needed. There are thoughts regarding the modernisation of the European air traffic management system. These relate to areas such as technological development or a possible reorganisation of the airspace. These changes should be planned in close dialogue with employees.”