Thursday, March 26, 2009

European Antics



This is an interesting (if whacky) article:

EU presses for reduction in air traffic control fees

Interesting: ”The EU is mounting a fresh push to force down air-traffic charges of about €7bn a year in Europe. On a per-flight basis, that's around double the rate in the US, where controllers handle twice as many flights. “

Remember, this is the model some folks tout as the solution to our problems. A model that sounds like it costs twice as much for half the volume. I don’t believe these numbers any more than I believe anyone else’s numbers. It’s still interesting.

Whacky: ”The European Commission, which proposed the law last year, will now draw up specific requirements, such as cutting costs and reducing flight distances by certain percentages. “

You can’t reduce straight-line distances between cities (obviously.) And if you aren’t sending aircraft in a straight line, there’s usually a really good reason for it. Usually, a reason grounded in safety and/or efficiency.

You can make a direct route between any two airports that you want. Say New York to L.A. Or London and Paris for Europe. After that, every other route has to dodge that route. In other words, you can’t run the Paris to London route head on to the London to Paris route. Not unless you think a one lane road can run in both directions -- at the same time.

A lot of people in the world don’t understand this. The kind of people you find sitting on “commissions” instead of in front of radar scopes.

Don Brown
Mach 26, 2009

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