Flight delays are set to increase by 53% this year when compared to 2017, mainly as a result of strikes and capacity shortages
I have asked the European Commission to develop an overflight system that would allow flights cross territorial air space, at an increased height, allowing flights from Ireland to continue during a strike by French air traffic controllers.
We cannot keep allowing these strikes to affect air travel and we have recently seen more disruption and cancellations as a result of the strikes. A4E (airlines for Europe) which includes Ryanair and AIG among others have called for this also.
We want action now on this. I do respect the right of French controllers to strike but the impact on other Member States must not be allowed to continue which is why proposals must be put in place. I believe the Commission has a role to play here and ensure the free movement of European citizens.
This year there has been a 300% increase in ATC strikes in France versus 2017. 24 strike days in 2018 have caused 5,000 flight cancellations and thousands of delays, affecting millions of travellers and the projected EU economic impact of €13.4 billion continues to grow.
Eurocontrol said in a recent report that flights in its region are due to increase 53% by 2040, but that airport capacity is set to rise by only 16%. It predicts that by 2040, around 470,000 passengers per day will be delayed by up to two hours, compared with around 50,000 passengers today. Delays are set to increase by 53% this year when compared to 2017, mainly as a result of strikes and capacity shortages.
I welcomed the European Commission’s list of good practices to enhance airspace efficiency in its summer 2017 package but I believe more action needs to be taken urgently.
Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 551/2004 foresees the establishment of a single European Upper Flight Information Region (EUIR), without prejudice to a Member States sovereignty. This would allow building a Trans-European Motorway of the Sky to mitigate the current fragmentation of the European airspace and disruptions to the air transport system that are greatly affecting the continuity of air services and damaging EU competitiveness, as evidenced.