Europe’s transport chief looks to Single European Sky contribution to deliver wealth for the region

The Single European Sky is assuming a pivotal role in the region’s efforts to boost the competitiveness of its aviation industry.

EU transport commissioner Violeta Bulc told the Aviation Summit held in Amsterdam this week that completing the Single European Sky initiative remained central to guaranteeing the sustainable future of the industry both domestically within the European Union in addition to its performance in international markets.

Referring to the political spat between Spain and the UK over the vexed issue of Gibraltar which has hobbled legislative measures to accelerate the Single European Sky, Bulc urged all partners, in particular the EU member states to complete work on SES 2+ regulation, so it enters into force as soon as possible.

“Delivering on the SES 2 regulation in 2016 is vital,” she said. “This is the single biggest issue to be resolved in making our EU aviation market more efficient and competitive.”

She said action at European level was now needed to overcome capacity and efficiency constraints, stemming from today’s inefficient use of airspace and airports resources in additon to resolving prevailing market restrictions.

She said European innovation was being actively supported through the European infrastructure funding programme called the Connecting Europe Facility which is investing €2.5 billion in the deployment of ATM modernisation through the SESAR programme between now and 2020. She also noted the signing last week of a Memorandum of Understanding between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the SESAR Deployment Manager to reinforce and expand cooperation between the two organisations.

“It is a model for future cooperation between the EU institutions and aviation stakeholders,” said Bulc. “SESAR solutions can potentially result in the creation of over 300,000 new jobs, and achieve a more efficient use of our airspace at the same time,” she said.

The message comes soon after the Commission’s launch of its first ever aviation strategy which outlines a vision for a sector that employs 2 million Europeans directly and contributes €110 billion to European wealth.

She told delegates that aviation was at a crossroads. “The status quo is no longer an option. Meeting the challenges facing us will no doubt be disruptive. The successful implementation of this aviation strategy will depend on the willingness of all players to collaborate. Aviation is a global industry and all parts of the EU aviation network create value.”

She said that as part of the Commission’s efforts to ensure that the EU aviation sector remains a leading player in the international marketplace, it would support the building of relationships in fast growing new aviation markets such as China, the Gulf and the ASEAN region.

“For this to happen, we need a clear and fair regulatory environment, through comprehensive agreements between the EU and other regions,” she said. “It is my hope that in 2016, member states will agree on as many mandates as possible, to allow for work on these comprehensive agreements.”

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