In his closing speech at the Airneth Annual Conference, KLM President & CEO Peter Hartman warned of the dangers of mounting infrastructural congestion in the European airline industry.
THE HAGUE/AMSTELVEEN – He called on national and European authorities, as well as the airline industry itself, to pursue their efforts to prevent congestion.
“In 2025 the 60 major European airports will be heavily congested, due to stagnation of their infrastructure on the ground and in the air. The Top 20 airports may even be wholly or partly saturated,” said Mr. Hartman. “The demand for air transport in Europe is set to increase from 9 million flights a year in 2007 to 21 million flights a year in 2025. However, the current air traffic control systems will only be able to accommodate 17 million flights.”
Mr. Hartman went on to argue in favor of a single, pan-European air traffic control system that would ensure the smooth flow of traffic in this busy network.
“If we add up the extra time flown and the taxi time, as a result of capacity scarcity around and on Schiphol alone, this is equal to one of our aircraft flying around unnecessarily for 134 days a year. To cope with these constraints, KLM would have to add extra aircraft to its fleet, increasing impact on the environment,” said Mr. Hartman.
In closing, Mr. Hartman said priority should be given to tackling the infrastructural capacity issues at the hubs, to allocation of slots to hub related carriers and to offer reasonable alternatives to non hub related flights. “Compare it to rail transport: high speed trains also have rail tracks of their own”. “By giving priority to airlines that are making verifiable efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, it is possible to ensure responsible growth of the airline industry through 2025,” said Mr. Hartman.