EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 27 August 2002

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY – INSTANT NEWS ON TRAVEL POLICY IN EUROPE

AEA SAYS FEWER FLIGHTS MEAN FEWER DELAYS FOR EUROPEAN AIRLINES

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 27 August 2002

The Association of European Airlines says punctuality improved in the second quarter of 2002 – but that the improvement was largely due to a drop in traffic. "AEA airlines posted some out-of-the-ordinary punctuality figures in the second quarter", according to an AEA statement issued this month. It says that in April, 15.1% of intra-European departures were delayed more than 15 minutes – "a dramatic drop from the 24.6% recorded in April 2001". The May figure was even lower, at 14.7% – the lowest monthly figure since early 1998, and the lowest figure for a summer month since 1994. In June the delay rate was up once more, to 20.2%, but this included the effect of widespread industrial action by air traffic controllers. Overall, the delay rate for the three months combined was 16.6%, down from 25.7% last year.

But, says AEA, "the reason for the improvement is not difficult to analyse: in the depressed market following the dramatic events which befell the industry in September 2001, most of the AEA member airlines have cut back on the scale of their operations." Production – in the form of seat-kilometres performed – was down 10% on European routes and 13.5% on long-haul operations in the second quarter, compared to the same period in 2001. "For the first time in many years, it appears that the capacity of European airspace is beginning to fall into line with the needs of the users. The supply and demand equation is being balanced from both sides; as the airlines temporarily reduce their activity, technological advances in Air Traffic Control procedures are coming on-stream". In particular, says AEA, the Reduced Vertical Separation Minima have increased the capacity of upper airspace by creating new flight levels.

The worst delays – 27.6% of all intra-European flights – were recorded at Dublin, usually a good performer. Two other airports which also normally rank among those with fewer delays also appeared at the top of the list – London Gatwick in third place and Paris-Orly fifth. These three were the only airports in the AEA list to record a delay rate worse than in the second quarter of 2001. The top five were completed by Rome and Madrid. At the other end of the table, three airports recorded delays to less than 10% of departures: Oslo, Stockholm and Geneva. Immediately above them were Helsinki and Zurich. For the two Swiss airports, this represented a substantial improvement in their habitual position in the table.

AEA Secretary General Karl-Heinz Neumeister warned: "It is not a time for complacency." He said the present circumstances represent an opportunity to prepare for "the inevitable resumption of growth".

DIRECTOR SOUGHT FOR EU MARITIME AGENCY

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 27 August 2002

The European Commission has launched the procedure to recruit an executive director for the European Maritime Safety Agency, which was legally established in June and is expected to start its operations before the end of the year.

Created in the aftermath of the Erika disaster, it is intended to provide the Commission and the member states with the technical and scientific advice needed to increase maritime safety levels, boost prevention of marine pollution, and broaden the EU influence on international maritime discussions. The director’s main tasks will be to achieve the Agency’s strategic objectives, co-operate with the Commission and relevant member state authorities, and manage the Agency’s staff and budget. Candidates have until 30 September 2002 to apply.

EU APPROVES DEUTSCHE BAHN LOGISTICS DEAL

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 27 August 2002

The European Commission today cleared plans for a new area of operation for one of Deutsche Bahn’s subsidiaries. It gave the go-ahead for a deal in which German logistics firm ATG Autotransportlogistik GmbH, controlled by German rail operator Deutsche Bahn AG, and the Norwegian shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines AS, will acquire joint control of ATN Autoterminal Neuss GmbH & Co KG of Germany. ATN will operate an automobile transfer logistics centre.

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