On 12 March, members of the European Parliament’s Sky & Space Intergroup, which brings together 96 MEPs from across political groups, submitted a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioner Adina V?lean inviting the European Commission to declare 2022 as European Year of Aviation.
“In these difficult times, people can hardly go to an airport and catch a flight. A desolating image, empty airports – with their closed shops – are an emblematic portrait of this very challenging period,” the MEPs wrote. Catching a flight will then be the symbol of life that goes back to its normality, after defeating COVID19. “People will undoubtedly start flying again, no matter their destination, no matter the budget at their disposal. Thanks to the surge in travelling, the aviation sector will bounce back and recover, generating a significant positive spillover on the tourism sector, another pillar of the EU economy, and stimulate economic growth and employment.”
By bringing aviation back into the spotlight, this initiative would offer a unique opportunity to reflect on the present and, above all, the future of an innovative and research-intensive sector, fully committed to embrace and address the challenges of sustainability and digitalization and to contribute to the growth and well-being of European citizens.
According to MEP Marian-Jean Marinescu (EPP), Chair of the Sky & Space Intergroup, “Economic and social life cannot survive without aviation. There is the need to present to the people the importance of aviation and the sector action to adapt to future requirements and challenges.”
“The European Year of Aviation would be a great opportunity to show that a new era of zero-carbon aircraft is coming and that Europe is doing its utmost to get there”, adds MEP Christophe Grudler (Renew Europe).
For MEP Isabel Garcia Munoz (S&D), “We need to work on the recovery of the European aviation sector and stimulate job creation and high employment conditions for the workers of the sector as well as support for our enterprises and SMEs. There has to be a strong commitment from the European institutions and the Member States to start building a greener, socially and economically robust future for aviation in the medium and long term.”
“The corona pandemic hits the aviation sector extremely hard. The current crisis impacts not only airlines but the entire sector’s value chain. In Flanders, the nation I represent in the European Parliament, Brussels Airport in Zaventem is an important economic hub for growth, jobs and welfare. The economic recovery of the sector, its competitiveness and sustainability require our full attention. Innovation will be a key element in this strategy. With “Destination 2050” the sector has already contributed to the debate with some interesting proposals. We need a broader conversation on this topic and therefore I support the call to make 2022 the “Year of Aviation”.” reckons MEP Johan Van Overtveldt (ECR), Chair of the BUDG committee.
For MEP Monika Hohlmeier (EPP), “Flying is an integral part of our modern life. By declaring 2022 the year of aviation, we create an opportunity to bring together the needs of the aviation sector, questions of sustainability and climate protection, and people’s desire to travel again.”
MEP Massimiliano Salini (EPP) adds that “Air transport is a universal way of travelling the world, living new experiences and opportunities. In the letter to the Commission, we underline how putting air travel and the aviation sector at the centre of the recovery would have an important symbolic charge, as the first step in a new era post-Covid.”