The annual air traffic growth rate was about 5% in the last decade. The IATA forecasts the same or more for the coming years. As a consequence the capacity overload of current airports and the demand for point-to-point connections, even to destinations away from existing airports, has considerably grown.
Looking at the shores and the number of islands in Europe, which have considerably increased due to new EC Member States, it must be recognised that there is a great potential for an international air traffic system using seaplanes and amphibians. With these vehicles, new traffic routes can be developed with the advantage of short flights and the use of natural landing strips. By amphibians, point to point connections from shorelines to national and international airports can be realised too. At present, scheduled commuter seaplane or amphibian operations are only available in a very few locations in Europe. Operators and entrepreneurs interested in starting new seaplane businesses in Europe, report about: missing modern aircraft, missing international standards and rules and missing expertise of various stakeholders.
Based on this preliminary analysis the project aims to investigate the today's seaplane situation and to evaluate the weaknesses/strengths and to elaborate a set of concepts and requirements for a future seaplane air transportation system for "Improving passenger choice in air transportation" including technical requirements for new vehicles.
The general objective of FUSETRA is to demonstrate the needs and to quantify the potential of seaplane traffic business development, and to propose recommendations for the introduction of new seaplane/amphibian transportation system, in the context of the European Research Area like the improvement of passenger's (customer's) choice for better time and cost efficient travel and transport.
The main objectives are:
- Identification of possibilities to improve seamless travelling by implementation of seaplane transportation systems within the European air- & land side transportation infrastructure (connectivity of possible seaplane harbours to other means of transportation);
- Development of solutions which are ready for implementation by ensuring passenger acceptance (Evidence of seamless travel, flight time reduction, reduced operational cost, reduced travel charges, operational safety, better access to international air traffic);
- Identification of reduced environmental impact of air transport by developing solutions for point-to-point seaplane operations (de-congestion of major airports, seaplane routes over uninhabited areas);
- Propositions for enabling uniform implementation (EC wide) of the chosen seaplane operational system (regulatory issues, water landing fields, etc).
- Improvement of the accessibility of regions by serving business as well as private mobility by new seaplane/amphibian connection;
- Identification of number of seaplanes or amphibians needed to replace existing aeroplanes, and needed to satisfy the potential new demand;
- Improvement of transnational co-operation by organising international workshops.
FUSETRA has contributed substantially to the policy objectives and to scientific and technical objectives of aeronautics. In particular, international workshops have been organised and relevant stakeholders, decision makers, research communities and industries have been invited.
The project contributed to the integration of old and new EC Member States. Greece and Poland as workshop venues have been intentionally chosen, as they are located near new Member States in South-East and North-East Europe. This project supports building networks and tight cooperation. It allows for a wide distribution of crucial information. Partners and stakeholders will have the opportunity to network and to provide examples of their experience and achievements, for example by presenting papers or by participating in working groups.
Seaplane operators and industrial stakeholder are mainly small and medium-sized enterprises. The workshops and the technical objective to prepare an action plan and road map for future seaplane traffic systems, will be particularly addressed to those companies. The FUSETRA project is directly linked to the VISION 2020 of the Aeronautical Strategy ACARE. The project focusses on the objectives of ACARE. With new concepts for sea parks and scheduled flights of seaplane/amphibian operations, and its integration to the sea/air/land transport chain, this project contributed to:
- novel solutions for efficient airport use and connecting air transport to the overall transport system, and;
- increase of air transport time efficiency of air transport.
Analysis has indicated capacity overload of current airports and an increased demand for point-to-point connections, even to destinations away from existing airports.
The project shows that there is a great potential for an international air traffic system using seaplanes and amphibians. However, for that new traffic routes need to be developed resulting in shorter flights and the use of natural landing strips.
FUSETRA investigated the current seaplane situation and evaluated its weaknesses/strengths. Based on that, it presented concepts and requirements for a future seaplane air transportation system improving the passenger choice in air transport and presenting technical requirements for new vehicles.
The objectives of the ACARE Research Agenda formed the focus of FUSETRA. This project contributed to novel solutions for efficient airport use, by connecting air transport to the overall transport system thus increasing air transport efficiency. New concepts for sea parks and scheduled flights of seaplane/amphibian operations have been suggested. Also their integration into the sea/air/land transport chain have been shaped.
FUSETRA contributes substantially to VISION 2020 of the Aeronautical Strategy ACARE. The project also contributed to the integration of old and new EC Member States. Workshop participants from the new and old Member States have been given the opportunity to present their experience and achievements, and/or to participate in working groups. In this way, the workshops have supported and have encouraged network building and cooperation. The workshops have resulted in a wide distribution of relevant information.
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- Modern infrastructure and smart funding: transport infrastructure (territorial cohesion and economic growth)