20-Jan-2011 9:51 AM

EU presses for better airport contingencies for winter

European Commission Vice President for Transport, Siim Kallas, stated (19-Jan-2011) that 35,000 scheduled flights were cancelled in Dec-2010 due to severe weather conditions, affecting 7.0 million passengers. Mr Kallas outlined five areas where the aviation industry should be better prepared for winter conditions, which should be consistent across Europe:

  • Contingency planning for snow at airports needs to be improved;
  • Better co-operation between all parties, both in the air and on the ground;
  • Ensure the proper functioning of airline hubs;
  • Provision of better and more timely information about delays and rerouting;
  • Minimum service and quality requirements set at airports for passengers.

Mr Kallas announced he intends to present a strengthened European regulatory framework in the upcoming airports package. He has requested airports provide progress reports on contingency planning for next winter. [more]

EU: “Volcanic ash is difficult for the aviation industry to predict, but we know that winter arrives every year and we should be ready for it. The responsibility for devising and implementing contingency planning lies with the aviation industry. What we can do at European level is strengthen the regulatory framework - as is necessary - to help. In particular, we need to introduce minimum service and quality requirements at European airports for our passengers. Those requirements will form part of the legislative proposals in the Airport Package due later this year." Siim Kallas, Vice President for Transport. Source: European Union, 19-Jan-2011.

EU: "We estimate that in 2010 175,000 flights were cancelled: 100,000 due to the ash cloud, 35,000 in December due to bad weather conditions. Nobody has the full picture how much luggage has been lost and delayed. We faced lost revenues for aviation as a whole and millions of angry and unhappy passengers. This is an unacceptable situation and it cannot continue ... I appreciate the efforts of airports during the volcano crisis to help passengers. But overall during last year's negative events we noticed in general two very bad trends – a lack of information and a lack of commitment to care about passengers." Siim Kallas, Vice President for Transport. Source: European Union, 19-Jan-2011.

EU: "The crises we have seen in 2010 are symptomatic of underlying structural problems in the aviation sector. The EU is facing a capacity crunch at airports. In the most challenging scenarios, it is estimated that, by 2030, about 40 airports will be congested 8 hours a day. 25% of demand might not be accommodated." Siim Kallas, Vice President for Transport. Source: European Union, 19-Jan-2011.

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