On June 5th Germany announced that the German Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS) intends to increase its user charges by a staggering 300 million EUR annually as of 2015. The European airline community has expressed its deep outrage about this massive cost increase, which blatantly contradicts the recent commitment to lower costs made by Germany and the other EU Member States in the context of the Single European Sky (SES) framework.
The main reason given by DFS for this increase is the unmanageable obligations for occupational pension provision. The impact on European airlines will be huge, as Germany is one of the cornerstones of the Functional Airspace Block Central Europe, which handles 55% of all European air traffic. If the performance planning of DFS, which operates in a monopolistic environment, becomes reality, Germany would become the State with the most expensive airspace in Europe. This would impede the further acceleration of the establishment of an SES.
“We urge the German government as the owner of DFS to face up to its responsibility”, says AEA CEO Athar Husain Khan, “firstly to ensure compliance with its self-defined targets and secondly to take all necessary measures to avoid an exorbitant increase in charges to the detriment of all airspace users and to the competitiveness of the air transport market in core Europe.”
DFS’ intended action could lead to a significant setback in the much-needed drive to deliver the efficiency improvements in air traffic management that aviation needs. The failure to implement the SES in Europe costs airlines, air travellers and the overall economy 5 billion Euros, generates around 8.1 million tonnes of unnecessary CO2 emissions per year, and adversely affects European airlines’ ability to grow and invest.
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ABOUT AEA: The Association of European Airlines (AEA) brings together 30 European established scheduled network carriers. These collectively carry nearly 400 million passengers and 6 million tonnes of cargo each year, operating 2,600 aircraft serving 640 destinations in 170 countries with 11,000 flights a day. They provide around 390,000 jobs directly, and generate a total turnover of €93 billion.