Chapter 2: Air transport
Like the process of designing, building, and operating an aircraft, the development of a European air transport policy during the last 20 years has proven to be a challenging task. As will be shown in this chapter, setting the objectives, assembling all of the pieces together and making the machinery work in an efficient and smooth way has required the harmonized action of many manufacturers. Despite their efforts, under unfavourable weather conditions, the resulting flight has not always produced a pleasant experience. In fact, the first decade of the twenty-first century has been a particularly tough one for aviation. As any other sector that relies on the overall level of economic activity, the air transport industry is currently suffering from the global economic downturn. However, the effects of the crisis have just worsened some of the still unmitigated consequences of past shocks: the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the SARS outbreak, the ash clouds of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, and other unfortunate events in recent years. However, it can be argued that it is precisely under adverse circumstances when the strengths and weaknesses of an institutional set-up should be tested.
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