EU Recommends Measures to Tackle Air Transport Crisis

28 April 2010 (Last Updated April 28th, 2010 18:30)

The European Commission has outlined a range of short-term actions and structural measures to help the air transport industry overcome the €2.5bn ($3.3bn) loss faced by the aviation industry due to the volcanic ash cloud. European Commission vice-president Siim Kallas said the closure

The European Commission has outlined a range of short-term actions and structural measures to help the air transport industry overcome the €2.5bn ($3.3bn) loss faced by the aviation industry due to the volcanic ash cloud.

European Commission vice-president Siim Kallas said the closure of airspace due to the volcanic eruption lead to the cancellation of more than 100,000 flights, stranding ten million passengers.

The EU said it will lead efforts in establishing an expert group and developing a new methodology for risk management for a coordinated action plan to revise the existing international procedures in case of volcanic activity.

It will also ask for a coordinated application of rules on state aid and the enforcement of air passenger rights.

Slot coordinators should also take into account the effects of the crisis, according to the EU, and the commission will not object to member state measures to waive operational restrictions for short periods.

The EU has asked its 27 member nations to provide airlines with immediate relief through measures such as market-rate loans and deferring payments for air traffic control services.

Siim Kallas has called for an emergency meeting of EU transport ministers on 4 May to fast-track the comprehensive reform of Europe's fragmented air traffic system.

The meeting will establish an aviation platform that will facilitate long-term coordination with the air transport sector, and will follow up the effective short-term measures for the crisis.

The commission will prepare a proposal to be submitted by the EU to the International Civil Aviation Organisation General Assembly in September 2010.