Given that there are currently 9 regional air traffic control blocks in the EU, should it be centralized as a way to effectively cut running costs?
By: Ringo Bones
According to the powers-that-be in the European Union’s headquarters at Brussels, the current air traffic control system currently managing the commercial air traffic over Europe is costing passengers 5 billion euros a year. But will merging the 9 regional EU air traffic blocks into a one centralized system and simplifying its current “arcane” and “rigmarole” air traffic routing operation result in a cost savings that can be passed to the consumer?
Unfortunately, the proposed merger plans to centralize the EU’s currently fragmented air traffic control system had triggered an air traffic controllers union’s strike in France back in Tuesday, June 11, 2013, that cancelled 1,800 flights and cutting every major European city’s airport’s timetable in half. Disruptive and hard on the airline passengers had the strike had been, are the grievances of the striking air traffic unions’ rejection of the proposed merger plans justified?
The planned merging of the EU’s patchwork air traffic control system and opening it to privatization in order to reduce operating costs that can be passed on to the consumer will, sadly, result in the sacking of most tenured air traffic control workers. Back when Ronald Reagan was still president of the United States, the Reagan administration’s drastic curbing of the air traffic controller’s union’s bargaining powers had resulted in mass firings of experienced air traffic controllers that could have spotted the anomalous behavior of those hijacked planes that were flown straight into the World Trade Center buildings back in September 11, 2001. And I highly doubt it if most budget frequent fliers will ever get their money back or know the difference if the centralization of the EU’s patchwork air traffic control system goes through.