Air transport and the EU
Of all the forms of transport, aviation has shown by far the most striking growth over recent decades. Every day, more than 25000 aircraft are in the air over Europe and, judging by current trends, this figure looks set to double over the next 10 to 15 years. Though the sky may seem vast, this level of traffic density poses real problems, as indicated by the increasing number of flight delays and cancellations. One thing is clear - a growing, thriving Europe needs an efficient air transport system.
A mounting challenge
The European Commission’s primary role is to support research that enhances the competitiveness of European industry and supports the Union’s policies, including transport and environmental policy and many others. Nowhere is this approach more evident than in aeronautics where, under the Fifth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, a variety of aeronautics projects have been undertaken addressing the needs of both European industry and citizens.
Collaborative research in aeronautics has helped to establish Europe as the only serious competitor of the United States in that field. The importance of a highly coordinated and collaborative research effort has been clearly recognised. A high-level group of personalities has developed a ‘Vision for 2020’ for European aeronautics. As a guiding hand is also essential, the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE) is working to establish a Strategic Research Agenda for Aeronautics in Europe.