Air traffic ‘fragmentation’ causing unnecessary delays

Air traffic ‘fragmentation’ causing unnecessary delays

Fragmented air traffic control systems across Europe are resulting in airline passengers facing needless delays of up to an hour, according to a report today.

Pilots have complained that the system makes it impossible for aircraft to fly the shortest route between two airports.

Rather than flying at the most fuel efficient constant speed, they are often instructed to slow down as they enter another country’s airspace.

The UK has been singled out as one of the worst culprits by the EU as it tries introduce a single air traffic control system for Europe, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The current system is making flights more expensive because of the amount of fuel which is being wasted.

It is also responsible for aviation’s carbon emissions being 12% higher than they would be if there was an EU-wide air traffic control system, it is claimed.

All 27 EU member states were asked to submit plans to tackle air traffic delays by June. Britain was one of a number of countries to fail to meet the deadline.

The UK’s plans for improving performance were rejected by the EU in November as failing to meet punctuality and cost efficiency targets.

The Association of European Airlines said: “Today, the fragmented system is having an enormous detrimental impact on airlines, their passengers and the environment in terms of time, fuel burn and money.

“Member states are trying to escape their single European sky commitments.”

Virgin Atlantic operations director Corneel Koster was quoted as saying: “There is no doubt that customer delays could be significantly reduced if single skies is implemented successfully.

“There are many occasions where passengers can be delayed by up to an hour whilst the aircraft is suspended in a holding pattern and this clearly benefits nobody.”

Aviation minister Theresa Villiers said: “We want to see genuine performance improvements across Europe’s air navigation service providers.

“We have listened to the Commission’s recommendations and believe that our revised plan is robust.”


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