Single European Sky: transport MEPs back more efficient air navigation services

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP January 31, 2014 20:41

Single European Sky: transport MEPs back more efficient air navigation services

Updated rules on air navigation services giving national regulators more independence and industry more say in designing more efficient airspace navigation were overwhelmingly backed by the transport and tourism committee in a vote on the Single European Sky II+ package on Thursday.

National aviation authorities must be independent from the air navigation service providers they are overseeing, say transport MEPs. They also want EU member countries to encourage cooperation between national aviation authorities in order to coordinate airspace management more closely across Europe and make air traffic control less fragmented. They point out that the national authorities need adequate resources in order to operate efficiently.

The transport committee backed rules to increase the flexibility of the Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs), which allow air traffic control and navigation services to cooperate across national air space borders. For example, under the new rules, air navigation service providers and airlines would be able to propose enhanced cooperation arrangements beyond the current limits of the FABs, which would increase overall efficiency.

To make air navigation services more efficient, the proposals backed by the transport committee allow the Commission to designate an impartial, independent body to help national aviation authorities meet performance targets. This body would also help the Commission coordinate more closely with the national aviation authorities.

The Commission proposed to separate support services such as weather forecasting and information services from air navigation services in order to enhance competition, However, the committee insisted that further impact assessments should be made by 1 January 2016 at the latest, before any further steps towards liberalisation are considered.

Nonetheless, the text adopted by the committee also states that member states must ensure that there are “no statutory impediments” preventing support service providers from competing with each other. Air navigation service providers should be able to call for tenders from different support service providers when drawing up their business plans, with a view to choosing the “financially and qualitatively most beneficial provider”.

Transport MEPs also backed changes clarifying the division of tasks between the Commission, European Aviation Safety Agency and Eurocontrol.

The vote in plenary is scheduled for March.

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP January 31, 2014 20:41
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