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Aviation: MEPs vote on "better airports" package

airport

The European Parliament voted on 12 December on proposed measures to help increase the capacity of Europe's airports, reduce delays and improve the quality of services offered to passengers. In its vote on the "airports package" the Parliament gave strong support for the Commission's proposals to improve slot allocation as well as to improve the transparency of noise decisions. The Parliament referred the proposals on ground handling back to the Parliamentary Committee for further consideration.

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Aviation: Kallas seeks pan-European cooperation on Single Sky

airport

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas called on the 44 Director-Generals representatives of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) for full engagement on the implementation of the Single European Sky, and for a positive cooperation between ECAC and the EU.

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Rail improvements in the UK to bring faster travel times and a better environment thanks to EU support

train

The European Union will co-finance with €5 million from the TEN-T Programme a project to electrify a 58 km section of British rail infrastructure. The project, which is part of the “Railway/road axis Ireland/United Kingdom/continental Europe” (TEN-T Priority Project 26), will bring considerable benefits to rail traffic in the area.

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EU supports expansion of Dutch locks

ship in a canal

The European Union will support with over €3 million from the TEN-T Programme two projects for the future expansion of the Beatrix locks and the Lekkanaal in The Netherlands.

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Longer trains for a greener environment in the UK thanks to EU supported project

long train

The European Union will support with €5 million from the TEN-T Programme a project to improve rail infrastructure at various locations in the UK in order to accommodate longer trains and reduce travel times. The project will eventually yield faster rail transport, additional capacity and, as a consequence, an improved environmental performance.

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Background

The Single Sky: the way forward for European civil aviation

airport control tower

Speech from Vice-President Siim Kallas, Commissioner for transport at the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC)/Paris

Let me start with a pan-European project that is vitally important to us all.

We passed a critical deadline in the timetable to complete the Single European Sky, the logical partner to Europe's single transport market on the ground.

This project has consistently been my top aviation priority. As I said at the recent Single European Sky conference in Limassol, I am determined to advance it within the term of this European Commission. It is simply too important for Europe and its competitiveness to be allowed to fail.

Functional Airspace Blocks are one of the cornerstones of the entire project, along with the performance scheme that is so vital for the Single Sky to become a reality and success.

It is now very clear that the FABs are not yet genuinely functional. They either still follow national borders or have not yet optimised their air navigation services - or both.

There is absolutely no point in having ‘empty’ FABs that only exist on paper. They must deliver added value, improve performance and promote optimum use of airspace. That is what I expect, and what the project’s success hinges upon: it remains the original ambition from more than 10 years ago.

But we are still a long way from reaching our goal.

We need FABs that bring benefit to people and industry, and contribute to an integrated and defragmented airspace. My Commission services are analysing the FABs situation and we will now launch infringement proceedings against Member States if they are not fully compliant with EU law.

At the same time, what we really want to achieve is better performance and real delivery of the Single European Sky. I believe that we can still reach this goal. The FABs can, and must, still deliver.

Accelerated implementation of the Single European Sky is crucial for the competitiveness, cost-effectiveness, growth and sustainability of Europe's entire air transport system.

It is also probably the best example of how Europe can make a direct and significant difference to aviation, for the benefit of business and citizens.

This is a hugely important project where ECAC is uniquely placed to make a significant contribution – to assist, develop and enhance pan-European aviation.

We need to start doing more to ensure that the Single Sky is delivered. Member State civil aviation directors-general are uniquely placed to drive the project forward in a balanced way, given your responsibilities.

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