easyJet and Ryanair become integral part of A4E

tFive carriers including Air France KLM, easyJet, International Airlines Group (IAG), Lufthansa Group, and Ryanair have formed a new European airline association, Airlines for Europe (A4E).ttThe aim of A4E, which was launched on the eve of the EU Aviation Summit in Amsterdam, is to represent the interests of its members (which will grow over the next few months) when dealing with the EU institutions, international organisations and national governments on European aviation issues.ttAt the EU Aviation Summit, the five respective CEOs – Alexandre de Juniac, Carolyn McCall, Willie Walsh, Carsten Spohr and Michael O’Leary – declared, “We welcome the European Commission’s Aviation Strategy for a stronger and more competitive European aviation industry. But we need to act now – large scale airport monopolies, high charges, taxation and inefficiencies characterise the aviation supply chain. We want to work with the Commission and the Member States to implement the strategy, and we call on the Member States to support the work of the Commission to reduce monopoly supplier costs.”ttA4E has initially outlined three measures on which it will campaign. The first is 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 generate at airports; and ensuring that security charges are efficient.ttThe association claims a new Aviation Economics study shows that airport charges at the largest 21 European airports have increased by 80% since 2005, responding, “Airport charges have risen by more than three quarters over the last ten years. This is in direct contrast to the lower air fares being delivered by European airlines which have decreased by 20% over the same period. We want to create growth and new jobs across Europe, both within aviation and beyond.”ttThe second will see A4E help to deliver reliable and efficient airspace by reducing the cost of Air Traffic Control (ATC) provision through completion of the Single European Sky and better economic regulation at EU level; ensuring that ATC strikes do not cause disruption to passengers across Europe; using new technology to make efficiency savings; and using SESAR funding to drive compliance with the Single Sky framework.tt“The best way to improve the competitiveness of EU airlines is to lower the costs of monopoly providers, which would help everyone,” A4Easserts. “In this context, we support the Commission’s proposed Single European Sky 2+ package and welcome its positive statements around future movement on ATC strikes. We urge all parties to engage in dialogue and we will seek an urgent meeting with ANSPs to discuss and develop an action plan.”ttThe third campaign will focus on stimulating more economic activity and jobs by creating the right regulatory environment and removing unreasonable taxes.ttA4E said the Italian government had recently increased the taxes on passengers charged at Italian airports by €2.50, arguing this is a disappointing step in the wrong direction which damages the economy and jobs, remarking experience and economic analysis both show that removing taxes is beneficial.ttThe association avers, “The proposed measures will create many jobs and increase Europe’s GDP. A core task for A4E is to secure the sector’s future development as a growing and innovative industry with both a European and an international dimension.”ttAlongside campaigning on the issues above, A4E will work on 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 on the basis of a risk-based scientific assessment.ttThe five CEOs added, “Today marks the beginning of a new era for European airlines. With the endorsement of the five largest airline groups in Europe, A4E will be a powerful vehicle to address the industry’s issues. For the first time, low-cost and network carriers are creating an association to support the adoption of a new European Aviation Strategy. Today we also call on all airlines in Europe to join us and make our voice even more powerful.tt“We are delighted to welcome Thomas Reynaert as Managing Director of A4E. He has joined us from United Technologies where he ran their European government relations office. His wide experience in the aviation sector and his strong management background will help us to meet our challenges in Brussels.”ttThe CEOs confirmed their support for the liberalisation of the whole aviation value chain and for pro-competition policy and regulation within the EU. They also confirmed their opposition to the provision of state aid, as a general principle, to airlines and airports. 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.t

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