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The Cost of Air Congestion

The free movement of people and goods has a cost. Although the regulation has brought some inprovements in use of airport capacity, it is still not adequate to address the increasing congestion at European airports. And this air congestion represents a high cost for the whole economy. According to a recent report from Eurocontrol "Challenges of Growth 2013" the airport capacity crunch will cost European economy € 230 billion. The last decade has seen a huge growth in trade and tourist links which requires a substantial development of the airport capacities. However in times of economic downturn many airports have been forced to reduce their expansion plans. As a result this capacity crunch will lead to a situation where 12% of the demand for air transport will not be met. This figure represents 1.9 million flights per year unaccomodated and 237 million passengers unable to fly ! This situation will be more acute in Turkey, the UK, the Netherlands, Poland and Italy. In all, more than 20 airports in Europe could reach the saturation point in terms of ground capacity. According to the " Airports Council International " the consequences of inaction would cost airlines and airports € 40 billion of lost revenues per year by 2035. Thus this will have a negative impact on Europe's growing potential. But a recovery from the crisis will also lead to a freight traffic increase which obviously means more pressure on the airports. In a nutshell massive investments in air transport infrastructure are required.

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