Posted on: 26 February 2014 by Mark Howells
The European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) has announced that its members continue to be one of Europe’s success stories, with statistics for 2013 showing that they carried more passengers than ever before and contributed to increased employment across the European Union.
In 2013, ELFAA members carried 216 million passengers, an increase of 6.7% over 2012, and directly employed 31,568 workers, an increase of 7.1% on the previous year.
“Yet again ELFAA members are demonstrating their resilience and continued growth during difficult economic times,” declared ELFAA secretary-general John Hanlon. “While a number of competitor airlines continue to receive unjust government hand-outs, ELFAA airlines’ sound business model has enabled them to continue to grow profitably, contributing in turn to the economic development of the areas they serve and easing unemployment in some of Europe’s worst hit areas.”
“The 2013 statistics also showed that ELFAA aircraft achieved further increases in occupancy,” Hanlon continued. “Over the last decade ELFAA members have been shown to be one of Europe’s success stories, thanks to the European Union’s far-sighted liberalisation of market access. The challenge now for legislators is to ensure that low-fare airlines are not penalised due to ill-conceived public policy.”
Hanlon highlighted the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) being applied to aviation. This, if applied only to intra-EU flights, would discriminate against low-fare airlines, for whom the majority of flights are within Europe, he noted.
“For example, EU airspace or, even worse, intra-EU only scope for EU ETS would allow the more polluting long-haul flights free rein to pollute the environment for the greatest part of the flight,” Hanlon stated. “Intra-EU passengers – overwhelmingly EU citizens – would unfairly bear the lion’s share of the burden of ETS, for no significant environmental gain, 80% of EU aviation emissions of CO2 being from long distance flights.
“ELFAA members are continuing to grow and have weathered the economic crisis exceptionally well. Unlike many competitors, we do not ask for injections of government aid, but do require a level-playing field to enable us to compete fairly with other airlines,” Hanlon summarised. “Our contribution to Europe’s employment and growth has been hugely significant. For this to continue we need equitable and balanced policies, that will enable us to continue growing within Europe for the foreseeable future.”