On December 2, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) declared its support for and participation in the Sky’s the Limit campaign for more efficient air traffic routes in the UK, and called for similar momentum for airspace change throughout Europe.
NATS, the UK air traffic control company, has plans for important airspace changes to update a system originally designed 50 years ago, but it needs a government policy framework to provide the necessary political support for change.
Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s European Regional Vice President commented: “Air routes in the UK are hampered by lack of political will to help NATS deliver change to ensure greater capacity, fewer delays, and reduced emissions and noise. The Sky’s the Limit campaign is calling for the UK Government to set a policy for modernisation and reform – an objective fully shared by the airline community.”
IATA said it urged similar action throughout Europe to address airspace inefficiencies that are costing passengers around 10 million minutes of delay every year. A lack of optimised routes results in excess fuel usage and emissions.
“The benefits that the Sky’s the Limit campaign envisages for the UK can be replicated across Europe, but modernised European airspace can only be achieved if airlines, ANSPs and Governments work together. If the UK get its approach right, it will be a leading example for other European states to follow. We need each country to develop a National Airspace Strategy, in full consultation with airlines, to maximise the potential of our airspace system. There should be no limits to creating the high-quality airspace network passengers deserve,” said Mr Schvartzman.