The Aviation Sector of Europe

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1.1 Introduction

With the growth in the European Air traffic by about 2.8% annually, the aviation sector of Europe is likely to grow more rapidly (Baumgartner and Finger 2014, p. 29). Presently, the number of flights in Europe of yearly basis is estimated to be about 9.8 million, with trends showing a more increase to about 17 million by 2030. While such a growth is significant in the economy of the region, there are negative aspects associated with such a high growth in the traffic in Europe. For example, increased congestion, carbon dioxide emissions and increased cases of traffic delays are some of the negative effects of growth in European air traffic. In Europe carbon dioxide emissions within the aviation industry has been reported to account for about 4% of the percentage of carbon dioxide emitted in Europe. Following increased air traffic such percentage is likely to increase to about 12% by the year 2050 (Baumgartner and Finger 2014, p. 289).

Clarke (2003, p. 163) asserted that there is a need for an advanced air traffic management to help in the elimination of the challenges that the European Aviation industry faces currently such as increased noise, delays, security threats and congestion. Grushka-Cockayne, Reyck and Degraeve (2008) on the other hand, pointed out that there is the need for advanced decision making process in the European Aviation industry to ensure that sustainable strategies are implemented towards improved performance of the regional aviation industry. The Single European Sky (SES) was introduced to cope with challenges within the aviation industry of Europe and to ensure that there is more sustainability in the industry. Thus, this study investigates the performance of the current air transport in Europe alongside the air traffic management in an attempt to establish the role of Single European Sky in improving the operations of the aviation industry including lowering environmental effects from aviation, reducing congestion, eliminating delays, and enhancing security.

1.2 Background of the study

Recently, air transport has had a significant rate of growth in its service provision (Grushka-Cockayne, Reyck and Degraeve 2008, p. 1395). Klomp, Borst, van Paassen, and Mulder (2016 p. 256) and Baumgartner and Finger (2014) observed that the growth has however led to challenges such as increased delays and congestion, as well as other environmental issues such as increased emissions to the environment. The air transport is ranked the second best means of transport behind cars. It is well known for performing better than railway transport, road and water transport (Lawless 2013). Due to its unique and fast growth, the European Air Traffic Management (ATM) has been straining to solve the challenges that come along with the increased growth rate (Tumer and Agogino 2009). The navigation services on air have had a long history working within the national borders of Europe and encouraging the member states to ensure they have their own and effective ATM systems.

Basing the argument on the current state in Europe, the national service provision has taken monopoly to control the ATM in Europe (Leone and Liu 2011; Baumgartner and Finger 2014). According to a study conducted by Lawless (2013), the fragmented European airspace is optional for members due to some disadvantages that may come along with its use. For instance, the territory of member states may not have adequate space for the ATM to operate in a cost-effective and efficient manner. The other reason may be that it may not be a conducive option to allow the smooth accommodation of the ever-growing flows of traffic.

ATM is the combination of ground-based and airborne functions that include services of air traffic, flow of air traffic, and the management of airspace. Klomp, Borst, van Paassen, and Mulder (2016) revealed that such services are the key requirements to ensure that there is safety and efficiency in the movement of aircraft during all the stages of operation. ATM is also described by the airspace safety European organization to have three independent activities. The first activity is the Air Traffic Control (ATC) that is in charge of the safe separation of aircraft while on air and at the airports as they take off and land again. The second activity is the Air Traffic Flow Management which is mainly concerned with all the activities that need to be performed and confirmed before an aircraft takes off. The last activity is the Aeronautical Information Services. This activity is concerned with compiling and distributing all safety and navigation information that is necessary to the users of airspace.

The Single European Sky (SES) is a commission in Europe that is vested with a key responsibility to top remove any boundaries that may be existent in air. Its main goal is to be involved in the reformation of the European ACT for efficiency in meeting customer needs and meeting future air capacity targets (Leone and Liu 2011). The set goals can be attained or fail to be attained depending on how well the set strategies are put into reality. For instance, an improvement in the services of ATM and ANS can change the whole service provision in the air transport. They can start by solving challenges such as delays. Tumer and Agogino (2009) noted that solving the European air traffic challenges can be done through increasing the capacity of airspace. Many customers in airspace transport have also been threatened by the constant occurrence of security incidences. As a result, ensuring tight security...

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