EC study backs air passengers rise
Europe's busiest airports could carry 28 million more passengers every year without further expansion or extra runways, a report claimed today.
The study, ordered by the European Commission (EC), says that more efficient use of take-off and landing slots could absorb some of the current congestion.
Demand already exceeds capacity most or all of the day at six European airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Paris Orly, Milan Linate, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt.
While some major European airports are planning to expand and may be able to cope with the increase, others, including Heathrow, do not plan expansion and face worsening "capacity constraints", the report warns.
There are currently 26,000 flights using Europe's airspace every day, with estimated growth of 5% a year.
Better planning and use of slots alone could generate more than five billion euro (£4.3 billion) in economic benefits by 2025, the report estimates - adding up to 28 million passengers without any other modifications to airport capacity.
EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said: "We have been concerned that the current system of allocating take-off and landing slots at airports is inefficient, giving rise to delays and congestion.
"This has now been confirmed by today's report, showing that up to 28 million more passengers could travel each year through Europe's airports."
The commissioner said he intended to propose legislation later this year to tackle the issue.
The study, drawn up by an independent transport planning consultancy, says problems with the current slot allocation arrangements at Europe's airports not only causes congestion but hinders competition between airlines.
The system of slot co-ordination cannot generate more airport capacity, the report points out, but the way slot allocation is organised should ensure that limited capacity is used as effectively as possible.
"At some airports this does not occur because of factors which include a significant proportion of small aircraft, limiting the number of passengers that can be transported within the constrained capacity," the report says.
Despite significant new competition in the European air transport market, including the growth of low-cost airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair, the system of "historical preference" makes it very difficult for new entrants to challenge the dominant position of traditional airlines at the most congested airports.
The turnover of slots remains very low, with established carriers having little incentive to give them up, "even when other carriers could use them more effectively than they could".
An EC response to the report said the study had highlighted the need for more transparency in the way airline slots are used at airports, including a stricter "minimum-usage" requirement to limit established carriers' ability to retain slots they are not using even when there is demand for them from other carriers.
Mr Kallas said he would now be proposing legislation later this year to encourage the most effective use of slots.
- 1 If you're not already angry about the migrant crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 2 David De Gea: Manchester United goalkeeper's £29m move to Real Madrid off - because paperwork 'not done in time'
- 3 Pansexual: What is it - and when did the term gain popularity?
- 4 Netherlands to withdraw food and shelter from failed asylum-seekers after just 'a few weeks'
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Nazi 'gold train': Fire engulfs suspected location of vehicle in Poland
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Isis releases graphic video showing four Shia 'spies' being burned alive in Anbar, Iraq
A Chinese journalist has appeared on state television 'confessing' to causing the stock market chaos
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms
£16 - 18k: Guru Careers: A Trainee Installation Engineer / Field Service Engin...
£22000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Approved NICEIC contractor is l...
£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a small IT consultancy business...
£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is profitable and privately...