EU to meet May 4 to discuss air traffic control
The Spanish EU presidency on Friday announced a special meeting of EU transport ministers on May 4 in Brussels to discuss ways to further integrate air traffic control in Europe.
The past week of air travel chaos has "laid bare the need for common reflection in order to improve the way Europe responds" to such situations, Spanish Transport Minister Jose Blanco said.
Several proposals will be put before the transport ministers, "including speeding up the timetable for putting into place a single European sky" -- eurospeak for an EU-wide air traffic control system.
Such a development would see Eurocontrol -- a 38-nation organisation based in Brussels -- take charge of an integrated, pan-European air traffic management system, he said.
Currently, each European country is responsible for its own airspace, resulting in a patchwork of air traffic control systems throughout the continent.
Possible compensation to airlines, tour operators and travellers hit hard by the week-long shutdown of most European airspace by drifting volcanic ash from Iceland will not be discussed at the meeting, Blanco said.
© 2010 AFP