Fri 31 Oct 2008 – Eurocontrol, the organization responsible for European air safety and air traffic management harmonization, and ACI Europe, represents airport operators, have signed a cooperative agreement which is aimed at enhancing the capacity of airport infrastructure across Europe and optimizing operations. It follows a forecast that air services will double by 2030 but the lack of sufficient airport capacity will result in severe congestion and full saturation at many European airports.
The forecast is made in a forthcoming latest edition of Eurocontrol’s ‘Challenges of Growth 2008’, due for release in November, foresees that despite the current slowdown in growth of air traffic, demand will continue to grow and is expected to double by 2030, reaching 20.4 million flights per year. By that time, predicts the study, a lack of matching airport capacity will 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 at least one of these airports, delays could potentially skyrocket.
Eurocontrol and ACI Europe have agreed to implement ground processes, such as collaborative decision making (CDM) between airport operators, airlines and Air Navigation Service Providers at more than 40 European airports. This, they say, will allow for a more efficient and fully optimized use of existing airport facilities, which in turn will reduce fuel burn and emissions from aircraft both on the ground and in the air.
“Our cooperation aims at addressing crucial short-term and long-term challenges for European aviation,” said Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI Europe. “It is about improving airport operations to allow airlines saving money, for example by reducing 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.
“Ultimately, we all know that optimizing existing airport capacity will not be enough and the Eurocontrol study again sends a warning signal about the need for new infrastructure.”
David McMillan, Eurocontrol’s Director General, commented: “Decision-makers need reliable data from trustworthy sources so that they can construct their policies effectively. The new study underlines that regardless of the economic situation, the demand for air travel will be there.
“We cannot afford to let ourselves be stymied by capacity problems. The agreement we have signed 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.”
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