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Switzerland joins efforts to end European air traffic chaos

Switzerland is to participate in efforts to end Europe's air traffic chaos, when European transport ministers meet in Brussels today. The meeting comes after it was revealed that nearly a third of all flights in Europe were delayed last year.

This content was published on January 27, 2000 - 16:52

Switzerland is to participate in efforts to end Europe's air traffic chaos, when European transport ministers meet in Brussels today. The European Commission called the meeting, after it was revealed that nearly a third of all flights in Europe were delayed last year.

Faced with a growing clamour from airlines, business travellers and holidaymakers, the European Union is being forced to address the continent's chronic air traffic problems.

Each year, the skies become more congested. Last year was the worst on record, with more than 30 per cent of flights delayed by at least half-an-hour.

The Swiss transport minister, Moritz Leuenberger, will today join 38 other ministers from the European Civil Aviation Conference to discuss ways of solving the problem.

The EU's transport commissioner, Loyola de Palacio, blames the situation on the unwillingness of Europe's member states to cede power over air traffic to a supranational European body.

She also says that, in many countries, far too much airspace is given over to military use.

She is proposing the establishment of a "Single European Sky", by breaking down national barriers, and harmonising air traffic control.

Any proposals are likely to have implications for Switzerland's bilateral transport accords with the EU.

Switzerland and Brussels are already at loggerheads over duty free goods. The EU says they give Swiss airlines and airports an unfair advantage, since Europe did away with them last year.

From staff and wire reports

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