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IATA urges Europe to improve air traffic management system

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned of wasted emissions and unnecessary delays if air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and governments throughout Europe do not improve their air traffic management (ATM).

Data from the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, or Eurocontrol, show that 20% of flights in June were delayed, with an average delay time of 17 minutes.

The majority of these 210,000 delays were due to a lack of capacity in air traffic control systems, caused by staff shortages, inflexible scheduling and poor prediction of disruptive events.

“The current situation is simply unacceptable,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.

“Airlines are making strides to reduce their environmental impact but in Europe they are being forced to produce unnecessary emissions every day. Fortunately, solutions exist.

“With the correct investment and planning, and a change in mindset by both governments and ANSPs, another summer of wasted emissions and delays can be avoided.”

Specific actions IATA are calling for include a reformation of outdated and restrictive work practices, modernisation of ATM infrastructure and rollout of Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR), a collaborative project to overhaul Europe’s current ATM system.

It also wants to hand more power to the European Network Manager to shape the network around the needs of air travellers, and punish ANSPs failing to hit capacity targets set under the European Performance and Charging Scheme.