No need for Euro airport expansions with better planning says report

by Alister POOLE on May 31, 2011

Better co-ordination of slots for taking off and landing is key to ridding major airports of congestion, says a new EU report published today.

The study, requested by the European commission, found that demand exceeded capacity everyday at six airports - namely London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Paris Orly, Frankfurt Am Main, Dusseldorf, and Milan Linate. Some major European airports have plans to expand and might be able to take on increased amounts of flights, said the report, however others, including London Heathrow, are not and face worsening “capacity constraints”.
Currently, 26,000 flights use Europe’s airspace every day but this grows at least 5% a year. Through more thorough planning and use of just the slots alone, the report estimates, more than could €5bn, roughly £4.3 billion, could be generated by 2025.

Siim Kallas, the EU’s transport commissioner, commented on how there have been concerns from many that the system currently in use, which involves simply allocating take-off and landing slots across airports, continues to be inefficient while giving rise to frustrating delays and congestion. Kallas went on to point out that the report proves 28 million more fliers can travel each year without the need for expansion.

The commissioner will now propose legislation later on this year that is meant to tackle the issue. Today’s study, drawn up by a still-unnamed independent transport planning consultancy, says that problems with slot allocation arrangements at the amount in airports causes more congestion but also hinders competition between airlines.

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