BALEARIC Euro MP, Rosa Estaras urged the European Parliament meeting yesterday in Strasbourg to hasten the creation of a single European air space.
The aim, said Estaras, is to avoid air travel crises such as that prompted by the eruption of an Icelandic volcano last year. Not only did the resulting ash cloud cause havoc in air traffic, but economies were damaged and more than 10 million passengers affected.

In the same statement, Estaras highlighted the need for fresh investment in both land and air-based equipment by the European member states. “Only with state-of-the-art technology which offers precise data in real time will it be possible to provide reliable information and guarantee air safety,” she said. “There is going to be an ever-increasing volume of air traffic in the future,” continued Estaras, “so the sooner we have a single European air space the better.” She furthered that it was also of key importance that governments and public services should clearly define their roles and responsibilities in the co-ordinated management of such crises.

Estaras said that the havoc wreaked by the Icelandic volcano was well documented over several weeks as was the damage it inflicted on economic activity such as the tourist industry.

By way of response, EU Regional Policy Commissioner, Johannes Hahn said at the meeting of the European Parliament that further powers were to be given this year to the Single European Sky (SES) project to fast track crisis management. He confirmed that fine-tuning of the system was still necessary as was the clear definition of responsibilities, controls and operations.

Trials in methods of aviation monitoring, however, are already under way.
Hahn said that various manoeuvres under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Authority will be put to the test on 13th and 14th April in collaboration with Eurocontrol.