Vice-President Siim Kallas website

European Commission Mobility and Transport website

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Follow the Joint EESC - EC Conference on the White Paper on Transport on Twitter #wpt11

Future of mobility

The conference will be opened by Staffan Nilsson, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission (EC), followed by interactive debates among the participants.

A wider group of transport users and stakeholders will share their viewpoint on the White Paper as well as present concrete suggestions on how to work towards reaching its ambitious goal.

Follow the conference and Vice-President Siim Kallas' speech on Twitter here #wpt11 (White Paper on Transport 2011).


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[White Paper 2011]

[50 Facts and Figures on Transport]

[Video on White Paper]

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TEN-T Days 2011: Decision makers met to discuss how infrastructure investment can get the economy moving

Connecting Europe

Decision makers and business leaders met in Antwerp, Belgium on 29 and 30 November as part of the TEN-T Days 2011 to discuss how the European Union's funding of cross-border transport infrastructure projects can help boost the economy. Organised by the European Commission, the TEN-T Days 2011 will brought together the Commission, Members of the European Parliament, the European Coordinators for the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), Ministers and other high level representatives of the Member States as well as more than 600 stakeholders. Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, Commissioner responsible for transport was also present. The theme of this year's TEN-T Days was Connecting Europe: Putting Europe's economy on the move.

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Air transport: Commission welcomes agreement on Siberian overflights

Plane against a setting sun

The European Commission and the Russian government have agreed to modernise the system of Siberian overflight payments. From 1 January 2014, any charges EU airlines have to pay for flying over Russian territory will be cost-related and transparent. They will not discriminate between airlines. The agreement is set out in an exchange of letters between Russian Economic Development Minister Ms Elvira Nabiullina, on the Russian side, and Vice-President Siim Kallas and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht for the Commission. The agreement will enter into force on 1 January 2012 after the WTO Ministerial Conference has given its green light to Russia's WTO accession, which is expected to happen on 16 December 2011.

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Europe's Airports 2030: The 10 key facts and figures

Tales of parked planes
  • Airports matter - almost 800 million passengers used EU airports in 2010, a third of the world market, almost three times more than when air traffic was liberalised in the early nineties.
  • Aviation is one of Europe's most competitive sectors. Airports are a vital part of our aviation system and airports are increasingly important to our economy. Europe has for historic and geographical reasons established a strategic position as an aviation "hub" for the world.
  • But competition is increasing. Half of the world’s new traffic added during the next 20 years will be to, from, or within the Asia Pacific region. Over the next five years, air transport growth will be driven mainly by regions like Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Latin America.
  • Faced with intense global competition, there are two major challenges facing European airports: capacity and quality.
  • Europe's airports are facing a capacity crunch. Air traffic in Europe will nearly double by 2030. Yet Europe will not be in a position to meet a large part of this demand due to a shortage of airport capacity.
  • Already today 5 major European airport hubs are at saturation - operating at full capacity: Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Milan Linate (Eurocontrol).
  • By 2030, on current trends 19 key European airports will be at saturation, including for example, Paris CDG, Warsaw, Athens, Vienna and Barcelona1. The resulting congestion could mean delays affecting 50% of all passenger and cargo flights (see detail in annex).
  • Airport capacity must be optimised. Also, noise restrictions must be proportional to the identified noise problem.
  • Quality and efficiency of services at airports must be improved. Today, 70% of all delays to flights are already caused by problems due to the turn around of aircrafts at airports (delays caused by airlines or their ground-handlers, airports or other parties involved in the turn around process).
  • The overall quality of ground-handling services has also not kept with evolving needs especially in terms of reliability and resilience, safety and security. Disruptions experienced have shown the need for increased coordination of ground operations for European airports and the network as a whole (knock-on effects) so as to ensure continuity of airport operations.

[MEMO]

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Background

"Better Airports" Package Launched

Airport terminal

The European Commission announced 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.

Vice President Siim Kallas, European Commissioner responsible for Transport said: 'Europe's airports are facing a capacity crunch. If business and the travelling public are to take best advantage of the air network, we have to act now. 70% of all delays to flights are already caused by problems on the ground not in the air. On present trends, nineteen key European airports will be full to bursting by 2030. The resulting congestion could mean delays for half of all flights across the network. The status quo is not an option for airports in Europe. Faced with intense global competition, if we do not change the way we do business, we may not be doing business at all."

The package consists of a policy summary document and three legislative measures, on slots, ground-handling and noise.

On slots

The Commission proposals introduce market based mechanisms for the trading of slots between airlines in a transparent way, as well as measures to ensure that existing capacity is used by airlines - by raising the threshold on the "use it or lose it rule" from 80%-85%.

The proposed measures on slots would allow the system to handle 24 million more passengers a year by 2025. They will be worth €5 billion to the European economy and create up to 62,000 jobs over the period 2012-2025.

Five European airports are currently operating at capacity: Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Milan Linate. On current trends this could increase to nineteen key airports by 2030, including for example Paris CDG – with very significant consequences for delays and congestion.

On ground-handling

The Commission is putting forward proposals to improve the quality and efficiency of ground handling services at airports.

Measures will include: increasing, for key ground-handling services that are still currently restricted - baggage handling, ramp handling, refuelling and oil, freight and mail services - the minimum choice of ground-handlers available to airlines at large airports from two to three. At the same time, there are new proposals to allow Member States to go further in protecting workers rights so staff can transfer under existing conditions when a contract goes to a new provider. This is essential to provide the stable employment conditions necessary to maintain a high quality workforce in what is a labour intensive sector.

The proposals strengthen the role of airports as the "ground co-ordinator" with overall responsibility for the coordination of ground-handling services at an airport. They provide airports with a set of new tools to do this, for example, to require minimum quality standards to be respected by all ground-handlers at their airport. These measures will strengthen also the resilience of airports facing major disruptions.

On noise

The Commission proposals increase the transparency in the process of setting noise-related restrictions at airports, including an oversight role for the Commission. This is not about targets, but about the decision-making process. It gives the Commission a scrutiny role – it does not replace a Member State's final decision. The proposals also update existing legislation in line with technological developments to make it easier for authorities to phase-out the noisiest planes. The Commission proposals increase the transparency in the process of setting noise-related restrictions at airports, including an oversight role for the Commission. This is not about targets, but about the decision-making process. It gives the Commission a scrutiny role – it does not replace a Member State's final decision. The proposals also update existing legislation in line with technological developments to make it easier for authorities to phase-out the noisiest planes.

Decisions on cutting noise levels have to balance protection for citizens living close to airports against the needs of those who wish to travel. Decisions must be taken in line with guidelines set at international level (by the UN body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation). Residents are entitled to be protected from excess noise from airports but it is necessary to take into account costs in terms of lost capacity and the impact on economic growth in a region.

Next steps

The Commission's proposals must be approved by the European Parliament and Member State Governments by the "co-decision" procedure, before being adopted.

More information

[Full]

[Citizen's summary]

[video on Airports proposal 2011]

[Studies on airports]

[Slots]

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