Posted on: 28 March 2011 by Mark Howells
The European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) has welcomed the European Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Transport and says it “hopes it will mark a turning point for the much-needed Single European Sky, with a new European air traffic management system set to come on stream by 2020”.
“Reform of the very outdated air traffic management systems and technologies is critically dependent on availability of public funding, at least initially,” explained John Hanlon, Secretary General of ELFAA. “If this is forthcoming, the new system will greatly increase the efficiency of air travel across Europe, replacing the current, inefficient and highly-fragmented management of airspace by individual states.”
ELFAA says it also hopes that the White Paper can act as a catalyst for greater public funding for research into new technologies and alternative aviation fuels. The Association notes that its member airlines “operate the newest and most technologically advanced aircraft available, but there remains a need to further accelerate the rate of progress in technological breakthrough, to facilitate the sustainable growth of aviation with its vitally-needed enabling socio-economic effect on the economies of Europe”.
Meanwhile, pending implementation of the new technologies and systems. required to create a true Single European Sky, European air travellers must enjoy greater protection that at present from the disruption caused by the too frequent interruption in provision of this vital service.
When it comes to the environment, ELFAA supports the inclusion of aviation from 2012 in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), viewing it as the most environmentally-effective market mechanism to address aviation’s impact on the environment at the lowest cost to society.
But Hanlon warns, “Whilst ELFAA is fully supportive of the inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS, this should bring an end to the so-called environmental taxes which have been recently introduced in some countries. Such taxes do nothing to help the environment and everything to further hinder the competitiveness of EU airlines.
“Consistent with this, the EU should abandon talk of any environmental tax on aviation and acknowledge that airlines’ involvement in the EU ETS, together with continued investment in new technology, is the best way to address the impact of aviation on the environment,” concluded Hanlon.