There is an alarming draft proposal available at the following link:
The Single European Sky (SES) was adopted on 20th April this year. Following that, a new way to charge for the use of airspace is now underway.
Eurocontrol has been empowered by the European Commission (EC) to undertake a consultation on "Implementing Rules on a Common Charging Scheme for Air Navigation Services" for all users. Responses to the consultation must reach Eurocontrol by 17th September 2004. They then report to the EC in mid October and the regulations come into effect early next year.
With such an impossibly short time scale it is imperative that we make our views know quickly and clearly!
The plans are to charge all airspace users for their use of air navigation services throughout the EU! This includes all sectors of General Aviation (GA), both VFR and IFR, and regardless of aircraft size!
The charges will include not only air navigation services but also met services and search and rescue costs.
Governments across Europe have accepted the principle of "the user pays" when passing legislation enabling the SES. National governments might be sympathetic to the plight of GA and want to exclude GA users per the current airways charges exemptions but the regulations don't permit that unless the Government pays the costs thereof to the Air Navigation Service Providers - and most won't!
Exactly how the charges might apply to GA and its various sectors has not been decided. There is mooted a basic annual charge on aircraft and/or pilots or a per flight charge - for everything that flies
Perhaps that is the real reason mode S is being imposed!
Anyone in Ireland co-ordinating a reply from the GA Sector?
I would suggest the following points should be included:
GA (VFR and light IFR aircraft) should continue to have free access to the European skies because:
- the majority are operated by private individuals who pay VAT and duty on their fuel (and services provided to them) from income that is itself already taxed.
- The cost of collecting from every GA movement would outweigh the cost of administering the system
- GA operators would be discouraged from filing flight plans and or speaking to ATC for fear of incurring a charge.
Do nothing and we will all pay!!