No Emergency Plans: ATCEUC releases a Snapshot on Air Traffic Management in Europe

  1. On 23 March 2021 EUROCONTROL issued a Data Snapshot with an analysis of the evolution of the ATM costs in Europe since 1998. Using those data ATCEUC offers its considered opinion on the EUROCONTROL analysis. 
  2. Since spring 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous effect on the whole aviation sector showing that none of the stakeholders had foreseen these events nor had an emergency plan to handle a systemic crisis like this. 
  3. Therefore, in a late and unilateral response, in November (eight months after the breakout of the pandemic and the drop in air traffic) the European Commission issued Regulation IR 2020/1627 which aims to alleviate the impact of the pandemic, but on airspace users only. 

 Currently the EC is trying to force the States to enforce the ad-hoc recommendations issued by the PRB, but the figures they suggest, especially those on cost-efficiency, were not agreed by the Member States and the revised Union-wide performance targets for the ATM network for the third reference period (2020-2024) are now under appeal. 

 While the traffic drop was drastic and ATCEUC agrees with the principle that airspace users shouldn’t be left to bear the consequences alone (and they haven’t…), this crisis must not be used as a pretext to impose unjustifiable financial measures on ANSPs right at a crucial moment when they most need to invest on newer technologies in order to be ready for the recovery.