[Avionics Today 11-12-2014] Addressing transport officials in Rome last week, NATS CEO Richard Deakin urged the European Commission to take a new approach to reforming the fragmented European air traffic network.
|Richard Deakin addresses European transport ministers at the Pallazzo Colonna, Rome. Photo: NATS
Deakin claimed the benefits of a Single European Sky (SES) had not yet been expressed in a way that would encourage change and that 10 years of increasing regulation had not delivered the benefits that airline customers expect. Deakin believes too many Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) use the bureaucracy that surrounds them as an excuse to make no progress while at the same time increasing prices and blocking competition.
“Regulation is not the only tool,” he said. “There are benefits from flexibility through commercial and industrial partnerships, through competition and through market liberalization. We believe that there has been a failure to clearly articulate the scale and impacts of the benefits [of SES] in a compelling way, as well as a rush to regulate,” said Deakin, before adding that the advantages of SES — namely lower costs and greater airspace efficiency — had never been explained with any clarity to its customers, the airlines.
To remedy this, Deakin pointed to the positive effect of competition in the airline industry, and urged a similar market-based approach for Air Traffic Management (ATM), highlighting the control towers market in Spain, where liberalization has provided lower costs and improved performance in a way regulation has not effectively delivered.