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Press Release – Single European Sky: "the time to deliver is now"
12.10.2012, 16:34 (CET)
The need to work for further progress in attaining a Single European Sky for the European Union was highlighted today during a high-level Aviation Summit in Lemesos (Limassol) which took place between October 11 and 12. Representatives from the entire Air Transport Management community attended the “Single European Sky: the time for action” summit, which was co-organised by the European Commission and the Cyprus Presidency. The Aviation summit was geared at providing the appropriate forum for a detailed discussion concerning future steps and progress in the field of European air traffic control. During the summit, the relevant minsters of Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta signed a State Level cooperation agreement on the restructuring of the Mediterranean airspace.

Cyprus’ Communications and Works Minister, Mr. Efthemios Flourentzou welcomed the visitors to Lemesos (Limassol) for the summit and during his keynote speech emphasised the imperative need for the Single European Sky (SES) initiative to be a success for the benefit of the industry, the consumer and the environment.

“In the past eight years much has been achieved by the Single European Sky initiative, but, at the same time, much more was expected. This, however, should not be an excuse for complacency and now is, indeed, the time for action,” Mr. Flourentzou noted.

The minister’s sentiments were echoed by the Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Mobility and Transport, Mr. Siim Kallas and the Chair of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee, Mr. Brian Simpson. The speakers also stressed that 2012 is a pivotal year for both τηε Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) and the performance Scheme.

The Single European Sky (SES) initiative is an ambitious attempt to reform the architecture of European air traffic control in order to meet future capacity and safety need. The necessary legislative framework for European aviation has been created through two such Single European Sky packages, passed by the European Commission in 1999 and 2004.

Reaping the benefits through proper implementation

Airline industry representatives underlined the costs incurred by industry for a failure to adopt SES and emphasised the importance of reaping the potential  benefits of the SES initiative. In addition, the airline industry representatives signaled out the damaging repercussions of this “in-action” on the environment through more CO2 emmissions.

European Commission officials highlighted their willingness and readiness to propose a sanctioning mechanism for Member States, which if adopted, would provide the necessary framework for addressing failures in the implementation of the rules on the establishment and effective operation of FABs within the deadline set by the EU legislation.

“This raises the prospect of infringement proceedings against Member States for non-compliance.  We will not hesitate to act, and at this stage, it looks like infringements may well be necessary,” said Vice-President Kallas.Participants highlighted the need for the effective implementation of the existing EU legal framework concerning aviation, stressing that strong political will and commitment was necessary for achieving real progress in the development of the Single European Sky.

Restructuring the Mediterranean airspace

During the summit, the relevant ministers of Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta signed a State Level Agreement cooperation agreement for the restructuring of the Mediterranean airspace. The Functional Airspace Block Blue Med FAB, which is a regional project for the implementation of the Single European Sky between the relevant countries looks to ensure greater efficiency and capacity through a reduction of costs for both air navigation service providers and airspace users. Furthermore, increased levels of safety and environmental benefits are expected to result from the more direct routes. “We need to be innovative and look in the FAB for economies of scale, higher efficiency and synergies which will allow us together to do more than what we can do individually,” Mr. Flourentzou emphasised.

Head of EU Affairs Unit, Communications Officer
Vassilis Demetriades

Ministry of Communications and Works

Email: vdemetriades@dms.mcw.gov.cy
Telephone: +357 22800256
Mobile: +357 99459601
Communications Officer
Konstantina Liperi

Ministry of Communications and Works

Email: kliperi@mcw.gov.cy
Telephone: +357 22800246
Mobile: +357 99923041

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