Atkins Questions Air Traffic Delays

The Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Atkins MEP, Conservative European Spokesman on Transport and Tourism, has tabled a series of Parliamentary Questions to the European Commission about the continuing and increasing Air Traffic Control delays to flights to and from the UK and within the Continent of Europe. "Traveling as I do from Manchester to Brussels on a weekly basis, I experience first hand the difficulties being endured by businessmen, holidaymakers and other passengers.

My last six flights were an hour or more late", he commented. "The economic cost, the environment disadvantages and the social inconvenience add up to a major problem which needs urgent attention". The statistics make for grim reading as the demand for air travel continues to rise, with the huge demand for package holidays and with holidays abroad now becoming ever cheaper. Sir Robert has expressed his concern over the matter.

"Air Traffic Control is at its most chaotic yet. The system is gradually failing as more aircraft need air time. It is something that the government seems to ignoring and this just does not make sense. Air Traffic Control delays cost the industry £5.4 billion a year. If the problem could be solved then flights would be on time, there would be more of them and, most importantly, the prices of tickets would fall".

In an attempt to make the European Commission address the situation, Sir Robert, a former Transport and Aerospace Minister, has submitted 12 questions* that will point out what could be done. (The inefficiencies of the Parliamentary procedure means a six-week wait for the replies - a story in itself.)

"I am trying to make the European Commission realise the problem but it is the national government that could be making progress on the issue. The system needs domestic attention and radical reform to solve the increasing delays. They must improve a farcical system. By ignoring it and hoping that it will go away will only allow it to become worse. The British government and the governments of other European States need to act and act now."

Top ↑