Future Airport: What are the key issues for the aviation industry at the moment?

Ivan Misetic: Well, the weakening demand in the face of the recession and the punitive emissions scheme are making it more urgent for the EU government to implement a real Single European Sky. The downturn in the economy should not be the reason for weakening or slowing down the reforms within EUROCONTROL as well.

The early implementation of a real step towards a Single European Sky is indispensable for the competitiveness of EU airlines and the EU economy in the global market place in order to protect jobs and ensure the connectivity to deliver mobility to the people of Europe. This is in short what I’m going to say during the ATC Global conference in my keynote speech.

FA: Do you think that the economic crisis will hinder the process at all?

IM: No it shouldn’t be an excuse at all, we want to convey the message not only to professionals in the industry but also to politicians in Europe. If they really believe in this project they will have to be serious about it in order to improve the efficiency.

There is still room for safety levels at the present congestion – by improving efficiency we can diminish the impact on the environment. Therefore European politicians should take a serious message from both sides of the industry – this is the last moment to really strongly back the SES package in order to have an efficient process, and an efficient sub-process, finished by 2012 in order to deliver a competitive environment to European airlines to maintain their position in the
global market.

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FA: So what exactly would you say if you were speaking to them now? What do they have to do?

IM: This is not a time for promises, but a time for actions. That’s the message. I would say there is 42 years of experience and attempts to create a single sky over Europe. In the meantime, other regions of the world have improved significantly and with such a fragmented sky over Europe the industry becomes uncompetitive globally which of course has an impact on the overall economy. This is the point in time when we have to think globally, forget the small national boarders and elevate ourselves to the level where we can remain competitive with other regions of the world.

“By improving efficiency we can diminish the impact on the environment.”

FA: How does Europe compare with the rest of the world? What regions would you say were a model example?

IM: Every region. The world has become a global village – people are able to travel around the world in a second. Business will always be performed by people rather than telephones, or other types of communication, and for that people need mobility. Europe is a cradle of industry and culture and must remain an important player in this global game. The only ones who can deliver mobility are the airlines.

FA: If you are looking at specifics, it’s time for the politicians to act, what do they need to do now?

IM: They should stick to the original plan which lies on four pillars, and deliver an institutional element for SES. They should pursue an idea of creating a single safety framework, extend the IATA scope of activity, they should pursue delivering the SESAR master plan, thus delivering the technical side of SES. And of course they must have an idea and solutions how to manage the capacity on the ground.