Euro-control have been plagued with a set of inefficiencies for years and they have struggled to maintain control over the regulation that forms the boundaries over modern day transport while allowing more and more aircraft to join the skies.
Whether it is a third runway that is not to be found in London, or a set of airports that aren’t allowed to have traffic at night, Euro-control has struggled to find room for so many new airplanes in their skies. I have seen Europe introduce many newer technologies and mandate so many newer programs in order to allow the airspace to cope.
The latest research has resulted in reducing separation between many newer classifications of Aircraft, and increasing some. the video below claims it helps increase both capacity and safety. I would agree that safety is “increased” when the separation for certain classes is increased. That is a no-brainer. The issue I hold back on commenting on is if the reduced separation based on many trials and studies is a “no-risk” or an “acceptable risk.” It obviously is the later, and while Europe is heralding the change only in their territories, ICAO will be quick to follow suit and this more squeezed airspace will be the new norm.
Obviously, this will make for more instances of “immediate action required” flying and more precise workload on pilots. The type of flying that will push the pilots to rely even more on automation and help them in eroding their hard-earned skills.
While the economics of such a decision more than make for the risk, both for airlines and airports, throughput has become the new GDP. So much money is poured into increasing sector capacity and throughput at runways; it almost feels like Quantitative Easing.
I envisage a point in the near future, where growth in aviation in Europe will become similar to those rates we see on GDP, mainly because so many forces are skewing the normal evolution of technology and therefore skewing markets.