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Air transport chaos presents an opportunity to strengthen European coordination.


21 Apr 2010



The disruption of air traffic across Europe has naturally been the focus of an extraordinary debate in the European Parliament today with the Council and the Commission. Apart from the changes forced upon Parliament's own agenda as a result of the absence of a number of MEPs, the main concern was for the desperate plight of thousands of citizens stranded abroad for several days and that of airlines facing bankruptcy unless flights resume soon.

Gesine Meissner (FDP, Germany), ALDE Coordinator on the Transport Committee: "Mother Nature is stronger than technology and the volcanic eruption has taught us that we cannot foresee or prevent every eventuality."

"For 20 years we have been discussing the completion of a single market for transport and a Single European Sky but there is nothing like a crisis to stimulate change and reform. Whilst the effects of the ash cloud could not have been prevented, the experience of the last few days is an opportunity to reflect on the efficacy of a coordinated pan European response and any contingency measures that can be put in place should we face another freak event by the forces of nature."

Dirk Sterckx (OpenVLD, Belgium), Member of the Transport Committee: 

"For many years the Council has resisted greater European involvement in the management of airspace yet the air transport sector, above all, transcends national boundaries and demands a coordinated approach. It must now be obvious to all that no single country can find an adequate response alone. Commissioner Kallas was right to seek a common response over the weekend to the current unprecedented conditions."

"European airspace coordination consequently needs to be strengthened and a European centre, preferably within the framework of the European Air Safety agency, established where all data on airspace can come together and emergency plans can be drawn up and coordinated."

"Everyone can gain from greater cooperation in the management of our common airspace."

For more information, please contact:

Neil Corlett: +33-3-88 17 41 67 or +32-478-78 22 84


Federica Terzi: +33-3-88 17 35 53 or +32-494 18 88 31


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