AEA welcomes EU´s external aviation policy
The Association of European Airlines (AEA) has reacted favourably to the communication from the European Commission about EU’s External Aviation Policy, presented by Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas.
The Commission’s ambitious package addresses several concerns raised by AEA: a need for fertile soil for its airlines to enable growth and facilitate prosperity in today’s global aviation market. AEA stressed, however, that underlying a new approach to international relations must be a clear focus on added value to European network airlines.
The Communication acknowledges that European aviation has delivered huge economic benefits over the past decades. However, as the report points out, a combination of circumstances has eroded the global competitiveness of European airlines. A realignment of the EU’s aviation relations with the rest of the world is necessary.
As AEA has consistently maintained, pursuit of an international level playing-field should be accompanied by a similar effort within Europe. Europe’s airlines are subject to regulatory burdens and inconsistencies which offset the advantages that spring from an established reputation for excellence. The Communication correctly identifies aviation taxes, airport and airspace congestion, consumer-protection liabilities and the cost of carbon emissions among these distortive factors.
“We welcome the fact that the Commission realises that the European network airlines have to fight in an aviation market, which is characterised by fragmented regulatory frameworks and bilateral agreements. The Association of European Airlines has been highlighting these issues for a very long time”, says Athar Husain Khan, acting Secretary General of the AEA.
“We are in favour of market access as long as the rules of fair competition are respected. AEA is glad that the Commission acknowledges on the one hand the importance of network airlines for Europe and on the other hand urges the need of a new aviation policy which addresses the issues and is adapted to today’s market. European airlines need an aviation policy that puts the economic benefits of European airlines in the focus of regulatory initiatives. We expect that this report will serve as a call for action so that our industry can grow in a sustainable way and fully contribute to the recovery of the European economy.”