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Eurocontrol - Cyprus cooperation to implement agreement
2006-01-20 14:40:08

Nicosia, Jan 20 (CNA) – An eight-member delegation of Eurocontrol is in Cyprus to begin implementing an agreement signed in October 2005 between Cyprus and Eurocontrol with regard to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) provisions and European Union plans to create a single European sky.

Speaking at a press conference, Head of the Eurocontrol Foreign and International Relations Christos Petrou said that by the end of 2006 “almost all provisions of the Single European Sky must be implemented”, noting they provide for a separate National Regulatory Authority which will certify the competence of the Civil Aviation Department.

He warned that any EU member state which does not implement these regulations will be subject to sanctions, including court measures from the Court of Justice of the European Communities.

Petrou said these three (Civil Aviation, National Regulatory Authority and Single European Sky) are interrelated.

He said civil aviation is a dynamic sector and changes occur constantly, adding that “the Civil Aviation Department’s work will not end with the implementation of the provisions”.

Petrou said that in meeting EU obligations, including the operation of a new radar and the construction of a new Traffic Control building, Cyprus will further improve its already good record in the air traffic control department and be in line with other European countries as far as granting air traffic control services is concerned.

Permanent Secretary of the Communications Minister Makis Constantinides said that “this issue is a one-way road for us”.

“We are creating the infrastructure to properly man the National Supervising Authority which will be invited to monitor in detail what air traffic controllers do and the procedures they follow, so that they will give the green light to a Services Department that will be set up”, he said.

“Our medium-term goal is to separate the National Regulatory Authority from the Services’ Department, see them work as two separate institutions,'' he said.

Constantinides said the aim of the Eurocontrol delegation’s visit is to start a procedure to upgrade the Civil Aviation and harmonise it with the acquis communautaire.

Referring to the 2005 statistics regarding Cyprus’ efficiency in relation to Europe, Petrou said that the number of flights in Europe rose to 9.2 million, marking a 4.5% increase compared to 2004, while the number of passengers who traveled within Europe reached 700 million and the level of delays per flight were 1,9 minutes.

Regarding the number of flights in Nicosia Flight Information Region, Petrou said they reached 208,000, marking a 1.5% increase compared to 2004 and the average delay per flight was 2.6 minutes and the number of passengers reached 20 million.

The Eurocontrol official said that the next years forecast an increase of flights in the Nicosia FIR by 4.8% compared to 3.7% in Europe.

Petrou said that Cyprus remains the country with the lowest cost for granting services, noting that in 2005 the country received 34 million Euro from over flight fees.

Asked if there are any developments on the part of the EU over Turkey’s refusal to allow Cypriot aircraft fly over its airspace, Petrou said that for Eurocontrol, the non-cooperation between the Civil Aviation Authorities of the two Eurocontrol members is something which concerns the organization for a number of reasons, adding that it has done and continues efforts in this direction.

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