“Big Five” Airline CEOs meet with EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc to discuss her new EU Aviation Strategy

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CEOs representing Europe’s five largest airline groups – Air France KLM, easyJet, International Airlines Group, Lufthansa Group and Ryanair – today met with EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc to discuss her new EU Aviation Strategy.

They urged her to develop a strategy that will support growth and jobs across Europe, strengthen the European aviation sector and give Europe’s passengers lower fares and more choice.

The four CEOs who attended – Alexandre de Juniac, Carolyn McCall, Carsten Spohr and Michael O’Leary – spoke afterwards on behalf of all five airline groups:

‎”We had a constructive meeting today. We welcomed Commissioner Bulc’s commitment to ensure efficiency is at the heart of the new EU Aviation strategy.”

“Europe’s airlines form the most competitive sector in aviation with a diverse mix of carriers offering competition and choice to consumers. This is the first time we have joined together to highlight the importance of a new European Aviation Strategy.

“As the new Transport Commissioner prepares this strategy we encouraged her to drive more fair competition, encourage more efficiency and help reduce costs in other parts of our industry (such as monopoly airports and Air Traffic Control providers) and reduce the tax burden on passengers.

The airline CEOs focused on four key measures:

• The development of an EU Aviation strategy with a plan for a simple efficient regulatory structure, which would strengthen the competitiveness of European airlines, ensure jobs and growth through innovation (e.g. Horizon 2020), protect consumer interests and promote more efficiency to reduce costs.

• Lowering the cost of the EU’s airports by ensuring that monopoly airports are effectively regulated; ensuring that passengers receive the full benefit of the commercial revenues which they create at airports; and that security charges are efficient. This could be achieved by reforming the Airport Charges Directive.

• Delivering reliable and efficient airspace by reducing the cost of ATC provision; ensuring that ATC strikes do not cause disruption to passengers across Europe; resetting the Single European Sky strategy by focusing on using new technology to make efficiency savings; and using SESAR funding to drive compliance with the Single Sky framework.

• Stimulating more economic activity and jobs by creating the right regulatory environment, removing passenger taxes and unreasonable environmental taxes.

Alongside the proposed policy positions the CEO’s confirmed their support for several key principles and action items which should underpin EU aviation policy. The most important of these is the commitment to safety and ensuring that safety standards are developed based on a risk based scientific assessment. They agreed that EU and national regulation and policies should support the efficient delivery of services, and that this includes the need for efficient operations to minimise the environmental impact of aviation. The importance of balanced consumer rights was also underlined; EU and national policies need to ensure that consumer rights are respected.

The five airlines between them carried a total of 420 million passengers in 2014, accounting for half of the passenger journeys in Europe.

15 Jul 2015

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