Sky under control

Anita Weprzędz

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” This quote shows that people need to and want to travel a lot. European Union is facing problems, which affects all of its Member States and tries to establish some rules to counter them. Major issues, which have to be solved by European Union and its legislation are: road and air traffic congestion, oil dependency and greenhouse gas emissions.

Air traffic – is it possible?

When I started to do my research before writing this article, I did not know that such challenge even exist. Some of the latest court cases involved air companies – Ryanair and Air Berlin – but about that a little bit later. Let’s focus on that peculiar traffic. Air corridors and all other aspects of that matter are very well organized, due to the fact that, air traffic management system handles about 26,000 flights daily. The number itself is quite overwhelming.

Composing of our sky

Flying is becoming easier and cheaper thanks to new airlines and routes, which connects thousands of people across the globe. To handle all problematic issues, the European Union implements transportation policy which includes documents like Single European Sky Act which will support that trend continue. Forecasts indicate that air traffic levels are likely to double by 2020.

The two packages (first adopted in March 2004 and second in March 2014) provides a legislative framework to meet future air transport safety, capacity and efficiency needs at European level. Other part of whole system, which deals with conditions of aircraft of the European Union are Open Skies agreements. This contracts allow any European Union airline to fly from any European Union airport to a city in another country. Agreements like these, are also part of relations of the European Union with the United States of America, Canada, Israel, the Western Balkans, Morocco, Jordan, Georgia and Moldova – and more are on the way. Achieving the objectives of the Single European Sky Initiative, would not be possible without cooperation with the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL). Its development is connected with implementing rules, including technical specifications and expertise given by EUROCONTROL.

More than legislation

Like always European Union want to cover up all of important issues involved in this field. Not only air traffics are important, but also common rules for the operation of air services in the Community. One of the cases mentioned before, refers to that topic (C 573/13). Air Berlin computerized booking system shows only final price – for flight chosen by customer. European Court of Justice ruled that „final price to be paid must be indicated whenever the prices of air services are shown, including when they are shown for the first time.” European Union want to ensure, that customers are able to compare effectively the prices for air services of different airlines. Second one, involving Ryanair (C 30/14) was connected with data protection in case of booking flights. European Court of Justice decided, that screen scraping – automatic system or programme to collect some personal data used for commercial purpose – is completely illegal.

By focusing on regulating all issues connected with air transportation, European Union shows its knowledge, that lack of good legislation will result in extraordinary loses in sector worth billions of euros. Investment and improving the infrastructure must be strictly connected with needs of European Union citizens and shall be conducted within the Union’s goals.

 

 

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