Travellers told to prepare for air-traffic control problems

Travellers told to prepare for air-traffic control problems

European Regions' Airline Association expects a quarter of passengers to be delayed this year due to air-traffic control.

The influential aviation body has revealed that of the 60m passengers its 80 members will carry this year at least 16m of them will suffer from air-traffic control delays.

The association is blaming regional air-traffic control centres from the southeast of England to northern Italy for the poor service.

The ERA board is urging transport ministers around Europe to implement a Continent-wide air-traffic services system rather than using technology from individual countries. The board claimed 45% of air-traffic control delays were due to only 15% of the control centres.

ERA director-general Mike Ambrose said: "The current situation is simply unacceptable.

Ministers must accept that urgent changes are needed to ensure the air-traffic services system can meet the increased public demand for airtransport."

He wants European countries to levy fines on air-traffic control providers that fail to meet agreed performance targets. Ambrose also called for Eurocontrol, which oversees air-traffic control in Europe, to be given the power to ensure various centres meet commitments. This summer the delays are expected to be as bad as ever due to increased strikes by air-traffic controllers in Greece, Spain and Italy and continued flight restrictions due to the on-going situation in Kosovo.

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