according to a performance review report Eurocontrol released in March. Daily traffic peaked at a record 35,251
flights on June 30, 23.8% higher than an average day.
The growth in traffic detracted from overall service quality. The share of flights arriving within 15 minutes of
their scheduled time decreased by 0.9% to 79.6%. Average departure delay increased by one minute to 12. 2
minutes per departure.
Weather was largely to blame for delays, but also air
traffic control (ATC) and airport capacity constraints,
ATC staffing and industrial action by controllers, Bren-
nan said. “This is nothing new to everybody in this
room,” he added. “This has been basically the story for
last 15-20 years. Yes, we’re making progress, but we’re
doing some of the same things over and over again.”
On April 3, Eurocontrol itself was to blame for thou-
sands of flight delays when its Enhanced Tactical Flow
Management System, which balances traffic demand
and available capacity in ATC sectors, failed. “The trig-
ger event was an incorrect link between the testing of a
new software release and the live operations system; this
led to the deletion of all current flight plans on the live
system,” the agency said.
The Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR)
program, the forward-looking technology thrust of the
SES, is nearly four years into technology deployment,
the third of three phases after definition and development.
Completed in 2008, the definition phase, basically
a paper study endorsed by the Council of the EU, cost
€60 million ($73.6 million). The Brussels-based SESAR
Joint Undertaking (SJU), a public-private organization,
since has managed two sets of research and development
projects under the development phase—SESAR 1 and
SESAR 2020—that through 2024 serve as an incubator
of € 3. 7 billion in government and industry investments.
While the research is ongoing, the deployment phase
While US Congress took a major step in late April toward bringing an end to more than three years of
contentious debate over FAA reauthorization,
with the House voting overwhelmingly to pass
legislation that would authorize the agency
through Sept. 30, 2023, all hopes of restructuring the US air traffic management system
died with the bill.
The 393-13 House vote, and strong endorsements for the House FAA reauthorization
bill from key leaders in both parties, will make
passage in the Senate of a similar bill—and ultimately passage of a long-term FAA reauthorization bill by the full Congress—likely.
The last full reauthorization of the agency
expired on Sept. 30, 2015, and FAA has been
operating on temporary extensions since then.
Debate on Capitol Hill over a new FAA reauthorization bill stretches back to late 2014.
The key to breaking the logjam was Rep.
Bill Shuster’s (R-Pennsylvania) decision earlier this year to abandon his multi-year effort
to restructure FAA by moving air traffic control (ATC) out of the agency and into an independent entity modeled after NAV Canada.
Arguments over the so-called “privatization”
of ATC kept previous FAA reauthorization proposals championed by Shuster, the chairman
of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, from getting a vote on the
House floor—even after US President Donald
Trump endorsed Shuster’s ATC plan.
ATC reform was vehemently opposed by
the US general aviation community, led by
private pilot and business jet advocacy orga-
nizations AOPA and NBAA, which lobbied hard
on fears that private aircraft fees to use the
national airspace system would increase under
an independent agency.
But House Republican leaders enthusiastically brought the latest FAA reauthorization
bill up for a vote, knowing it had wide bipartisan support.
“While I would have liked this bill to have included the significant reforms to the management of the nation’s air traffic control system
I proposed in earlier legislation, [the House-passed bill] does include many other important reforms that will help job creators lead in
a competitive global marketplace for aviation,
US ATM reform hopes die with FAA bill