Snow has returned to northern Europe, although the forecasters say this year may not be as bad as 2010. I am sure many of you will remember the snow chaos last Christmas. Overall, 35,000 flights were cancelled – more than in the whole of 2009. Tens of thousands of people were stranded. And there were major problems with baggage handling. Over the last twelve months we have had a number of meetings with representatives of major European airports. I made it clear in January that they needed to raise their game. I am pleased to say that their response has been positive. Serious deficiencies and weak links have been identified and are being addressed.
We asked VP Kallas and his team for suggestions as to what those interested in transport – "transport geeks" as they are affectionately called – might think of reading over the Christmas holidays. Here are some of the suggestions/recommended reading [50 KB] as they came in.
The European Commission announced on 1 December 2011 a comprehensive package of measures to help increase the capacity of Europe's airports, reduce delays and improve the quality of services offered to passengers. The measures address the quality of services passengers and airlines receive on the ground before they take off and after they land (for example, baggage handling, check-in, refuelling), the transparency of decisions on airport noise, as well as the efficiency of the complex network of take-off and landing slots that make up every journey.
Progress reports published today on the Single European Sky – far-reaching proposals to put in place a pan-European air traffic management system by 2030 – "set alarm bells ringing." "There is a genuine risk that we will lag behind and find ourselves unable to satisfy the rising demands of air travel, which is set to nearly double by 2030", said European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport. "2012 is a make or break year for the Single European Sky and there is a lot at stake. Despite efforts that have been made, the Commission's "traffic light" assessment shows a large majority of Member States in the orange or red zones and at risk of not meeting critical targets for 2012"
The European Commission and Sri Lanka initialled today in Colombo an aviation agreement which will restore a sound legal basis for developing future aviation relations between Sri Lanka and EU Member States.
The Republic of Moldova and the European Union have today initialled a comprehensive air services agreement at a meeting in Chisinau, the capital of the Republic of Moldova. This agreement will open up and integrate the respective markets, strengthen cooperation and offer new opportunities for consumers and airlines. The Republic of Moldova and the EU will develop this "common aviation area" based on common rules in important areas such as aviation safety and security.
Following adoption of the Commission's communication on renewed approach to transport cooperation (see IP/11/844), Vice-President Siim Kallas met transport ministers of the EU Member States and of the six Eastern Partnership countries on 24 and 25 October 2011 in Krakow, to move forward with transport cooperation between the EU and those partner countries.
The Commission adopted on 19 October 2011 a package for a new transport infrastructure policy. It comprises a proposal for theand a proposal for a .
The EU–Russia aviation summit, taking place in St. Petersburg today and tomorrow, aims to enhance political, technical and industrial co-operation between Russia and the EU in the aviation sector. The two partners have a huge potential for strengthening cooperation in aviation which would generate substantial benefits for both sides.
VP Kallas is meeting top-level representatives from the European rail and transport sectors during the inaugural meeting of the rail strategy platform. The platform has been set up to give strategic advice to the Vice-President on moving towards a competitive, sustainable and efficient single European rail area.