Airlines for Europe reports on European ATC in 2018, chairman advocates for more competition

    Airlines for Europe reported ATC strikes and staff shortages cost the EU economy EUR17.6 billion in 2018 and was the worst year of delays for air passengers in nearly a decade (Irish Examiner, 07-Mar-2019). The group, citing EUROCONTROL, reported ATC industrial action, insufficient controller staff, and other structural issues were responsible for over 75% of 2018 delays, with the number of EU airline passengers affected up 26% year-on-year to 334 million. Airlines for Europe chairman and Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary stated: “Progress on aviation has stalled and we are going backwards”. Mr O’Leary continued: “The EU must tackle inefficient air traffic control monopolies through internationalisation of airspace, introduction of competition between air traffic control providers, and quicker delivery and flexible deployment of air traffic controllers”.