I remember listening to my father telling stories about his time at pilot school, about warbird battles and about being shot down by anti-aircraft guns. These were life stories, real stories. When I told my mother that I wanted to become a pilot, she said “No, it was enough that your father risked his life being one”. So I became an aviation engineer. I worked 20 years in aviation design and manufacturing. Somebody once told me that anyone who smells burnt kerosene on the runway will always have a passion for aviation. It is true, I am living proof.

Now I am working with aviation and space legislation: Galileo, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and the Single European Sky. Who would have thought that all those years ago? This is today’s Europe. A Europe my father would have been proud of.

Why fly around when you can fly straight across?

Let me tell you a bit more about what I'm doing. I mentioned the Single European Sky. It's about reorganising Europe's airspace to make it more effective. We'll get direct routes, shorter flights, lower fares and increased safety.

The Single European Sky is about reorganising Europe's airspace to make it more effective. We'll get direct routes, shorter flights, lower fares and increased safety Marian-Jean Marinescu

27 000 flights cross Europe each day. But not straight, from one airport to the other, as they should. The airspace’s architecture, which is built according to national borders, does not allow otherwise. The result: delays, longer flights and extra costs that passengers, indirectly, pay. Thus the need for a new airspace architecture, based on efficiency, not on borders – this is the essence of the Single European Sky (SES).

Benefits for passengers and airlines

The idea of reforming the way in which air traffic is managed in Europe appeared in the 90s and the first European regulation, SES I, was adopted in 2004. It promised fewer delays, a threefold increase in traffic capacity and a tenfold improvement in performance and safety, along with a 50% cut in costs relating to Air Traffic Management (ATM). Benefits for both passengers, and airlines. But Member States failed to implement it.

The second one, SES II, entered into force in 2009. As Rapporteur (the person responsible for Parliament's position on the legislation), I supported the Traffic Control Performance Scheme and I introduced an operational deadline, 2012, for the airspace’s reorganisation. Progress was not as expected. In January 2014, the European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism voted a third package, SES 2+.

We are talking about a service sector, so more importantly, I believe, is making the trip easier and safer for the more than 600 million passengers flying over Europe each year. The solution exists: removing borders up there.

So far, the opposition that has prevented the creation of a truly Single European Sky has been political and social in nature. This is why in SES 2+ I introduced a new chapter concerning the management of SESAR’s implementation. The Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR), the new European air traffic control system, will defeat all political and social arguments.

There are voices against the new proposal. But when writing a law, we must take into consideration all those people affected by it. We must not neglect the hundreds of thousands of employees working in that industry. On the other hand, we are talking about a service sector, so more importantly, I believe, is making the trip easier and safer for the more than 600 million passengers flying over Europe each year. The solution exists: removing borders up there. The Single European Sky.

We believe in people. #believeinpeople @MarianMarinescu

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