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‘Single European Sky’ initiative at risk

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

EU says ‘Single European Sky’ initiative is at risk of missing crucial targets
Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The European Union (EU) warned that its progress reports on the Single European Sky initiative show that the project is ‘at risk’ of missing crucial targets.

“There is a genuine risk that we will lag behind and find ourselves unable to satisfy the rising demands of air travel, which is set to nearly double by 2030,” said European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, who is responsible for transport.

Kallas underlined that 2012 is a “make or break year” for the Single European Sky, which proposes to put in place a pan-European air traffic management system by 2030. The Commission’s “traffic light” assessment showed a large majority of Member States to be in the orange or red zones and at risk of not meeting critical targets for 2012.

For the upcoming year, the EU has established four key goals: the performance scheme, setting key air traffic management (ATM) targets, which are to start in early 2012; the nine “functional airspace blocks,” to be operational by the end of 2012; the ATM network manager, which are already designated as Eurocontrol; and the launch of the deployment phase of SESAR, the technological arm of the Single European Sky (from 2014), moving from the R&D phase to the roll-out of new equipment and technology.

The “traffic light” assessment allowed the EU to highlight serious cause for concern in relation to two of the four major elements within the Single European Sky project, the performance scheme and the functional airspace blocks.

Regarding the performance scheme, only 5 out of 27 Member States – Belgium, Denmark, Lithuania, Luxembourg and the Netherlands – have received a “green light” and are on track to meet both targets (for cost and capacity/delays) for the period 2012-14.

The Commission on Friday issued recommendations asking Member States to revise these targets and, if necessary, the Commission could adopt a binding decision requesting the Member States concerned to implement specific corrective measures.

Existing plans by Member States would fail to meet the EU-wide capacity target of 0.5 minute delay per flight in 2014. If this target were to be achieved, some €920 million ($1.2 billion) would be saved over 2012-14 due to fewer and shorter delays.

In addition, national performance plans will miss the EU-wide target for ATM cost efficiency by 2.4 percent in 2014. This would have a major impact, both on airspace users and on the credibility of the Single European Sky project. To meet the target, additional measures are needed to achieve a €250 million ($334 million) saving over the entire three-year reference period (2012-14).

Regarding the functional airspace blocks (FABs), all FAB blocks, except for the Danish/Swedish FAB, are in the orange or red zone and give serious cause for concern. The Commission urged Member States to step up their actions. Failure to take measures at national levels could oblige the Commission to re-open the SES legislative packages to introduce a more radical solution, it said.

Part of the Single European Sky objectives is to offer smooth air traffic as there are already 1.4 billion passengers a year at 440 airports with 26,000 daily flights, that is 10 million flights a year. However, the air traffic management system is archaic, with some of the basic technologies used dating back to the 1950s.

As a result, the project also looks to modernize Europe’s airspace to create a pan-European air traffic management (ATM) system, modernizing a fragmented patchwork of 27 national airspaces, tripling the airspace capacity, improving safety tenfold, reducing environmental impact by 10 percent, and reducing air traffic management costs by 50 percent.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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World

China sees slowest population growth since 1960’s despite relaxing 1 child policy

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Stock photo via Flickr

China is seeing the slowest amount of population growth since the 1960’s despite relaxing its 1 child policy. The birthrate has been in a steady decline since 2017, and its growth is being measured at 5.4% since the last census in 2010. The population has reached 1.41 billion, but that number is low due to the sluggish growth rate.

The newest figures point towards an ageing population with a large drop in the number of working age people in the nation. The number of people aged between 15 and 59 dropped 7%, while those over the age of 60 increased more than 5%. Beijing relaxed the 1 child policy back in 2016, but it has yet to see the effects of the change. Ning Jizhe, an official from the National Bureau of Statistics, seems confident, however, that the family planning change will work.

“The adjustment of China’s fertility policy has achieved positive results.”

Failing marriage rates have increased in recent years, along with couples struggling to financially support a child in major cities. Women are also choosing to delay having children, or avoiding it altogether. China recorded its slowest birthrate since 1949 in 2019, at 10.48 per 1,000 people. In February of 2021, preliminary data indicated that the birthrate for 2020 was also down, but official findings have yet to be disclosed.

10 years ago the average size of a family was 3.10, but now, it is 2.62 people. As China’s society evolves, more and more people are choosing to live in urban areas. 63% of Chinese people reside in urban areas, increasing the urban population to 236.4 million, a 15% increase from the last census. But 500 million are part of what Beijing has termed, the “floating population” which is comprised of migrant workers living in other places than what they officially registered as their home.

The 2020 survey was conducted by sending out over 7 million volunteers to survey residents door-to-door. This year, however, most of the data was collected online.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Flight booking data shows vaccinations are key to rebooting travel globally

Maya Taylor

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Greece, ready to welcome vaccinated travellers. PHOTO: Flickr/Pedro Szekely

The latest findings from a research firm that analyses flight booking data confirms that vaccination is the key to rebooting international travel. The most recent research from ForwardKeys shows that destinations prepared to welcome vaccinated tourists have seen a surge in bookings.

In particular, Greece and Iceland, have had a significant uptake in inbound flights, while countries where mass vaccination is at an advanced stage, such as Israel, the US and the UK, have seen outbound bookings climb. They key point is that the world’s travel and flight industries are looking to insist on proof of vaccination or vaccine passports for the right to get on an international flight or travel beyond their borders.

Like Thailand, Greece is highly dependent on international tourism. Anxious to revive its decimated economy, the country has announced that tourists who are fully vaccinated, who have a negative Covid-19 test result, or who have recovered from the virus, are welcome to visit. The result is that the country is now the most popular destination among those summer booking holidays from the UK. According to TTR Weekly, confirmed flight bookings between July and September are 12% above what they were at the same time in 2019.

A similar trend can be seen in bookings from the US to Iceland. In March, the Icelandic government confirmed that vaccinated arrivals would face no entry restrictions, which led to a surge in bookings. Flight ticket sales shot up to 158% what they were at the same time in 2019.

Olivier Ponti from ForwardKeys says there is a clear correlation between high vaccination rates and outbound travel. In Israel, which has now vaccinated over 60% of the population, bookings for European trips have reached 63% of what they were in 2019, while in the UK, where over 52% of people are vaccinated, bookings are at 32% of 2019 numbers.

“Vaccinations appear to hold the key to reviving international travel, as countries that make clear promises to welcome vaccinated travellers are being rewarded by strong surges in flight bookings. We see a revival of confidence in outbound travel from countries where there has been a successful rollout of Covid-19 vaccines too.”

SOURCE: TTR Weekly

 

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World

Glass bridge in China shatters, tourist hangs on 100 metres above the ground

Tanutam Thawan

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A tourist walking on a glass bridge in China, looking down at the ground 100 metres below, quickly had to cling onto the bridge’s rails after high winds caused some of the panels of the glass-bottom bridge to shatter.

Reports say the wind blew at up to 145 kilometres per hour, damaging the glass bridge and leaving the tourists stuck in the middle. Firefighters and other emergency responders helped guide the tourist to safety.

The bridge was built at a resort at Piyan Mountain in Longjing. The scenic walkway has been popular among tourists. A photo of the tourists trapped on the damaged bridge was shared on the Chinese social media platform Weibo and other social media sites. One Twitter user reacted to the photo saying “This is basically one of my anxiety dreams played out in the real world.”

Glass bridge in China shatters, tourist hangs on 100 metres above the ground | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Daily Mail

 

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