EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 3 July 2002

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY – INSTANT NEWS ON TRAVEL POLICY IN EUROPE

GO-AHEAD FOR GERMANY AIRLINE COMPENSATION

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 3 July 2002

German government proposals to compensate German airlines in the wake of last September’s terrorist attacks on the United States have been authorised by the European Commission. The aid, which totals Euro 71 million, is compensation for losses caused by the closure of American airspace between 11-14 September. It applies to all German airlines. The Commission has already approved similar aid packages offered to French and UK airlines and is still considering other emergency aid schemes proposed by other EU governments.

AIRLINES TO ARRANGE THEIR OWN INSURANCE IN FUTURE?

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 3 July 2002

The European Commission wants to see more work being done on the development of mutual insurance funds for air transport at European and international level. It says there should also be more examination of the future scope for commercial insurance options (possibly as part of a mutual fund), but the role of governments in providing insurance cover should be kept to a minimum.

These are the main findings of an assessment of the air transport insurance market carried out by the Commission following the 11 September terrorist attacks in the US. The assessment appears in a new Communication adopted by the Commission on 2 July. It is an interim assessment pending a more detailed analysis of insurance options which national transport ministers have asked the Commission to present to their next meeting in October. In the meantime, the temporary government insurance schemes set up to allow airlines to continue flying when all other insurance cover was cancelled last September can be extended until 31 October.

Two mutual insurance funds are being considered at present – the Eurotime proposal within Europe and a scheme put forward by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Both will be discussed at the October transport ministers’ meeting and both need, in the Commission’s view, to provide “a clear exit strategy for government involvement”. Any alternative commercial option would have also to preclude any need for governments to step in in times of crisis.

Legislation can be expected in the coming months too. The Commission intends to publish a proposal dealing with minimum insurance levels for the issue of operating licences, and a further “proposal on a possible compensation fund for extreme damages exceeding insurable risks”.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT SUPPORTS NEW FUNDING RULES FOR TRANS-EUROPEAN NETWORKS

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 3 July 2002

The European Parliament has given its support to European Commission proposals to amend the rules for granting funding to trans-European network projects (TENs). It particularly wanted to see higher levels of EU funding for projects designed to remove bottlenecks on cross-border rail routes which cross natural barriers such as the Alps and Pyrenees or bottlenecks on the EU’s borders with countries applying to join the Union. This funding would be used to lever additional private investment in the projects. Discussing the report drafted by Italian MEP Francesco Turchi, the Parliament voiced concern at the delays in funding TENs and completing cross-border rail projects. It agreed with the Commission that the emphasis should be on projects with a major “social and economic added value” which also improve safety.

RESTRICTIONS ON HEAVY GOODS VEHICLES

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 3 July 2002

The European Parliament has voted for harmonised restrictions on international heavy goods vehicle traffic on designated roads in the EU. It has also called for a new European information system to be set up to publish information on traffic conditions on trans-European networks. MEPs debating the report by French MEP Gilles Savary suggested that this system could be modelled on the “Eurocontrole-Route”, an information service set up between the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and France (with Spain, Ireland and the UK as observers).

AVIATION CONFERENCE URGES ACTION ON ENVIRONMENT

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 3 July 2002

An international conference on aviation and the environment in Paris yesterday urged concrete actions to make aviation more sustainable. Representatives of the aviation industries, governments and non-governmental organisations agreed on a programme that will include workshops on aviation and the environment, a guide on good environmental practice, and a study on an economic instrument for improving aviation’s performance on noise emissions.

"Achieving sustainability will take a continuous, fruitful dialogue, which means we need to put aside our preconceptions and fixed positions and work together in a constructive manner", said Beatrice Schell, director of the European transport and environment lobby group, T&E. "Aviation’s emissions are set to soar, but the Kyoto protocol requires that world greenhouse gas emissions come down."

"Experiences in the oil sector show that sustainability can provide new business opportunities," said Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel of the United Nations Environment Programme. "In fact, if companies want to be sound businesses in the long run, they need to listen to NGOs and take environmental challenges seriously." She pointed out that air transport, with some 1,600 million passengers and over 29 million tonnes of freight transported in 2000 and about 3.9 million people directly employed world-wide, is a major factor for socio-economic development. However, she went on, “these activities generate 2% of total man-made CO2 emissions. They are also a source of sizeable NOx and SOx emissions, and airports also have important environmental impacts.” And Thierry Sibieude, vice-president of the Conseil Gé néral du Val d’Oise, said: "Actions to tackle all environmental impacts from aviation need to be practical and range from local to global action, on the basis of consultation and cooperation."

NEW TECHNOLOGY TO REDUCE AVIATION FUEL BURN?

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 3 July 2002

AWIATOR, a new European technology project to reduce fuel burn and noise in future commercial airliners, was launched on 1 July in Toulouse, with the participation of Airbus and the European Commission. This new Euro 80 million technology platform, with 50 per cent financing from the EU’s research budget, aims to validate advanced technologies for future aircraft wing design. It should contribute to the goals set out in the EU’s high level report on "European Aeronautics: Vision for 2020", particularly the search for a 50 per cent reduction of fuel burn and a reduction by half of aircraft noise. Philippe Busquin, EU Research Commissioner, said: "European aeronautic research has a key role to play in securing Europe’s leadership in this strategic area. Research must ensure that our aeronautics industry remains competitive in global markets. But it must also help to meet the European citizens’expectations for safer and user-friendly transport that respects the environment”.

Beside the Airbus engineering teams in France, Germany and the UK, more than twenty partners from industry in Europe and Israel (including Alenia, EADS, GKN Aerospace, SENER, and SONACA) and from European aeronautics research will jointly develop and validate the technologies. They will be supported by several universities in Athens, Lisbon, Louvain and Marseille and numerous test centres and subcontractors. AWIATOR will target far field flow of aircraft, especially addressing the wake vortex and noise phenomena; near field flow around aircraft, looking at advanced wing design aspects (such as large winglets for performance improvements), and the control of the flow around and the wing loads of aircraft by use of novel control surface elements and turbulence sensors. The target is a 5-7 per cent reduction in terms of drag reduction, especially at take-off and landing, and 2 per cent in terms of trip fuel reduction for long-range flights. Additional expected benefits include a noise reduction of two decibels. The project will also deliver new design rules for future commercial aircraft and for the update of existing ones.

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