The Single Sky: the way forward for European civil aviation
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.