Kallas committed on pushing through reform

Brussels officials have confirmed that Europe’s top transport chief is under pressure to drop more radical Single European Sky reform in favour of earlier measures that he claims did not go far or fast enough.

Read the SES2+ Dossier

French transport minister Frederic Cuvillier said yesterday that he and his German counterpart had handed Siim Kallas, the European Commission’s vice president and transport commissioner, a memorandum requesting that further reform of European airspace be put on hold, arguing that national authorities needed more time to adapt to the planned organisation.

Confirming that commissioner Kallas had received a letter from the ministers, a spokesman told Air Traffic Management magazine that France and Germany want the current regime termed SES2 to prevail rather than the more radical SES2+ measures which go much further in their aim of making Europe’s airspace more efficient.

“Generally speaking, it seems that the French and German ministers support the Single Sky, but argue that full scale deployment of SES2 is the best basis and still has a lot of potential,” said the spokesman, who added that the Commission will insist that its latest raft of proposals are implemented.

“For the Commission, the facts speak for themselves. Our assessment of the insufficient implementation and slow progress of SES reforms in recent years leaves us with no option but to take further action to unblock congestion in Europe’s airspace.”

“Indeed, this is why the Commission feels there is very little alternative other than to move ahead with our proposals for SES 2+,” said the spokesman.

French air traffic controllers protested against the EU plans to liberalise civil airspace this week, arguing that the latest plan to create a Single European Sky would hit working conditions and result in job cuts.

The French Civil Aviation Authority said the strike action had intensified on Wednesday, forcing the cancellation of about 1,800 flights for a second day. “Nearly 100 per cent” of France’s air traffic controllers were participating in the strike, it added.

On Tuesday, it asked airlines to cancel 50 per cent of their services. Larger French airports were the hardest hit, with half of flights out of Paris, Lyon, Nice, Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux cancelled.

Read More: Brussels acts to unblock congested airspace

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