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GA squeezed in Europe, Boyer tells international groupGA squeezed in Europe, Boyer tells international group

GA squeezed in Europe, Boyer tells international group

By AOPA ePublishing staff

Basic general aviation is being squeezed out of European skies, AOPA President Phil Boyer told the annual General and Business Aviation Day Forum on April 4 at Eurocontrol headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

“The profile of general aviation has never been higher in Europe, providing an attractive alternative to the airlines,” said Boyer, who also serves as president of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA). “Yet the VFR pilot has fewer and fewer places to fly due to declining airport availability, environmental restrictions, increasing costs, and ever shrinking airspace.

“VFR flying is the foundation of all aviation,” Boyer said. “All types of general aviation activities within Europe must work together to achieve our joint goals and objective.”

Eurocontrol is in some ways the “UN” of air traffic control in Europe. It is developing a seamless, pan-European air traffic management system, integrating the navigation and ATC systems of its 38 member states. David McMillan, director general of Eurocontrol, welcomed participants from the general and business aviation community, pledging to work with them, emphasizing their position as stakeholders in the services offered to all users of Eurocontrol.

Forum co-chairs IAOPA President Phil Boyer and Eurocontrol Deputy Director of ATM Strategies Alex Hendriks shown with Eurocontrol Director of ATM Strategies Bo Redeborn.

He praised the contributions made by the IAOPA Europe and the European Business Aircraft Association to SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research), an effort much like NextGen in the United States to modernize air traffic control. Boyer and IAOPA leaders held a private meeting the day prior to better understand the agenda of the newly appointed Eurocontrol leader.

Topics were addressed in turn by speakers from Eurocontrol, the European Business Aviation Association, the European Commission, and European Aviation Safety Agency. Afternoon break-out sessions split the general and business aviation groups to allow them to concentrate on their areas of interest regarding future technologies.

Boyer praised the European Commission for issuing its agenda for sustainable future for general and business aviation earlier this year stating, “This document provides clear directions to the European community regarding the value and needs of our community, one that sets forth clear goals and objectives. We thank European Commission Air Transportation Director Daniel Calleja and his staff for this commendable document.”

The agenda called on European regulators to “consider the needs of all airspace and infrastructure users in capacity planning and optimization,” and to promote new technologies “to un-tap regional and local capacity in a cost-efficient way.”

Calleja and Boyer had an animated discussion in a private dinner the evening following the event relative to European and U.S. efforts regarding air traffic control modernization, general aviation (particularly very light jets), airport access, and politics between the two continents.

The International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) is a nonprofit federation of 64 autonomous, nongovernmental, national general aviation organizations. IAOPA has represented international general aviation for more than 35 years. The General and Business Aviation forum was cosponsored by IAOPA and Eurocontrol.

All presentations made during the forum may be viewed online.

April 8, 2008

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