National air traffic control spaces in Europe urgently need to be merged so as to clear congestion, boost safety, reduce flight times, delays and fares, create jobs and cut CO2 emissions, say MEPs in a resolution.
They want the commission to put pressure on member states, including possible sanctions, to meet their obligations.
“We have to have proper, efficient use of air space and 21st century technology for traffic management available to avoid the consumer having to pay twice: in time and in price,” said Jacqueline Foster, who drafted the resolution, which was adopted by a show of hands.
“Defragmentation of European air space is unacceptably slow,” she added during the plenary debate, calling on member states for “greater urgency in order to avoid possible safety and operational risks with increasing traffic flows”.
The commission estimates the full and swift deployment of the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) technology would lead to the creation of 328,000 jobs and cut CO2 emissions by some 50 million tonnes.
Passengers and airlines would benefit from cost reductions as congestion would be relieved, flight times would be cut by some ten per cent on average and cancellations and delays would be halved.
Member states has made firm commitments to merge their national air control spaces into nine Functional Airspace Blocks by December 4th 2012 and to evolve progressively towards a single European sky.
However, only two such blocks are ready, in the Scandinavian skies and over Ireland and the UK.
To speed up the process, MEPs call for performance indicator schemes to be implemented and ask the commission to adopt a top-down approach by proposing new legislation, including possible sanctions and, where necessary, EU funding.
The Single European Sky initiative was launched in 2004 to reform the architecture of European air traffic management.
Its key objectives are to restructure European airspace to create additional capacity and increase the overall efficiency and safety of air traffic.