The European Union has been trying to come to grips with the continent’s fragmented airspace for more than a decade, and it doesn’t sound like a solution is any closer.
Last summer was a difficult one in Europe for airlines and tourists alike with air traffic control issues causing delays and cancellations across the continent.
Well, it looks like the same thing is going to happen this year.
“I’m already foreseeing for this summer a perfect storm again with delays because we know that we don’t have the capacity in the airspace in Europe, so this is going to be again one of those horrible summers,” said Eduardo Santander, executive director of the European Travel Commission, during the annual summit of the World Travel & Tourism Council on Thursday in Seville, Spain.
The European Union has been trying to reform the continent’s fragmented airspace but has so far struggled to push through its proposed solution. And last summer staff shortages and strikes exacerbated the problem.
Eurocontrol estimates that the number of passengers in Europe delayed by one to two hours will grow from around 50,000 each day now to around 470,000 a day in 2040.
Speaking during the same session, Thomas Cook CEO Peter Fankhauser said the chaos impacted not just intra-European flying but long-haul travelers from the likes of India and China.
“If we want to have seamless travel, we need in Europe not such a mess as we had last year,” he said.
Fankhauser isn’t the only airline representative worried about the future. Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs expressed earlier concerns about a more difficult 2019.
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Photo Credit: Aircraft at Heathrow Airport. There's a possibility that we'll see delays and cancelations across Europe again this summer. Mike McBey / Flickr
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