Air traffic control reform moves forward in Brussels

SNP MEP Alyn Smith today (Wednesday) hailed the European Parliament's vote on the Single European Sky legislation as a victory for the industry and for Scotland.

This regulation will see reform of the current air traffic control structure in the EU continue in order to meet the demands created by the predicted jump in air traffic in the coming years.

Last month Alyn visited the National Air Traffic Services Centre at Prestwick, which supports 800 jobs.

Speaking after today's vote, Alyn said:

"In an increasingly joined up world air traffic is set to swell, and it is important that we in Europe have the facilities and systems in place to manage this growth.

"Thanks to the efforts of the Transport Committee, we additionally ensured that national authorities have flexibility in organising support services for air traffic control, such as meteorological services  - thus helping to protect working conditions in the sector.

"The air traffic control industry is massively important in Scotland. I was lucky enough to witness first-hand the huge contribution Ayrshire makes to European air traffic control when I visited the NATS centre at Prestwick last month. This centre is responsible for the largest area of air space in Europe, covering 2.84 million km2, including much of the Atlantic, and currently provides Air Traffic Control Services for 1.1 million aircraft per year.

"Today's vote means that Europe can go on to reap the economic, environmental and safety benefits of a more closely integrated air traffic control system, whilst also allowing for the NATS centre in Prestwick to continue to play a vital part in European air traffic management, and ensuring that Ayrshire's long relationship with this industry continues well into the future."