The article ‘The Commission launches Single European Sky II for safer, greener and more punctual flying’ was written by Vicky Karantzavelou and published on on 26 June 2008. The article can be found here.

The article deals with the second package of legislation for a Single European Sky (also referred to as SES II), which the European commission adopted at the day of publication. The proposal is aiming to further improve safety, cut costs and reduce delays and it is being pointed out that the application of this full reform of the European air traffic management system will be essential in managing the doubling of traffic which is expected until 2020.

Essay by Eva Maria Störmer
Master in Tourism Destination Management student 2008/2009

The initial Single European Sky framework from 1997 put forward a legislative approach to solving the issues affecting air transport and to be able to cope with future demands. The original initiative was drafted with the objectives to restructure the European airspace in regard of flows rather than according to national borders, to create additional capacity and to increase the overall efficiency of the air traffic management system .

The article points out that by implementing the second package of legislation not only airline passengers, but also freight forwarders, military and private aviation will benefit. As explained in the article, the European skies are still fragmented, which e.g. leads to flights being 49 km longer than needed on average. In order to overcome this and other issues the European commission focuses on four pillars with the SES II:

  1. Updates to existing legislation from 2004 (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research)
  2. A master plan or ‘technological pillar”
  3. a ‘safety pillar’
  4. and an airport capacity action plan

As for the first pillar, it builds up upon the original SES legislation and suggests enhancements such as binding performance targets for air navigation service providers and a European network management function.

In general the new package pays great attention to environmental issues at the core of the Single European Sky and suggests that improved air traffic management should realize its potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation.

The technological pillar focuses on introducing better technology. The idea is to bring together all aviation stakeholders to develop and operate a Europe-wide air traffic management system. The deployment of this system is supposed to enable safe, sustainable and cost-effective handling of air traffic.

Next, the safety pillar is being discussed. It argues for increased responsibilities for the European Aviation Safety Agency regarding uniform and binding rules for airport safety, air traffic management and air navigation service.
Finally, the airport capacity pillar elaborates on the shortage of runways and airport facilities, which threatens to become a central issue in the future. The initiative aims to co-ordinate better airport slots as well as airport capacity observation to fully integrate airports in the aviation network.

In the context of the second week’s topic International trade and law in tourism, the article at hand relates to topic two presented in class last time – globalization and deregulation and mainly chapter 8 in the book, ‘Liberalization and Deregulation for tourism, implications for competition.’

As said by D. Buhalis and C. Costa “The passenger aviation industry became highly regulated in the aftermath of the second world war […]”  until emerging customer dissatisfaction led first to deregulation in the US domestic market and then worldwide. One of the most notable examples is the Single European Aviation agreement: the deregulations signified that market economic and therefore competition played a more and more important role in aviation policy making. Prices could no longer be fixed by the International Air Transport Association and the Civil Aviation Organization could no longer protect the national (and usually state-owned) airlines.

Therefore, it is today that these deregulations and liberalization processes in the tourism industry create new opportunities and challenges for competition and will hopefully lead to an enhancement of public interest as well as the ability to cater for the anticipated growth of the future.

And who knows: maybe soon we will not have to an extra 49 km before reaching our destination.