Airspace user groups urge EU 'aviation strategy'

ROME -- The European airspace user associations have welcomed the European Commission's initiative to develop and implement an "Aviation Strategy for Europe." 

 The associations contributed to this exercise by responding to the public consultation, drafting position papers and holding face-to-face meetings with EU regulators, in the expectation that the strategy would address the challenges that the EU's aviation sector is currently facing.

 The long-awaited strategy, which was presented recently, is the result of a year's work by the Commission. To its credit, the Commission openly acknowledges that aviation is a key driver of

economic growth, jobs, trade mobility and connectivity. However, according to them ,the strategy lacks ambition and does not propose adequate measures to bolster the competitiveness of air operators - a vital sector in Europe.

 In a joint reaction to the strategy, the associations welcomed the deserved focus on the indispensable contribution of aviation to Europe's economy and mobility but stress that there is an urgent need for the Commission to now propose more specific and far-reaching remedies.

  “While the strategy review correctly identifies some of the significant challenges that Europe's aviation sector is currently facing in terms of the cost and provision of infrastructure (both on the ground and in the air), the integrity of the market, inefficiencies in the value chain and a burdensome regulatory framework (e.g. national and local aviation taxes, the intra-EU ETS), it stops short of proposing concrete measures to address these.

 The associations will further engage with the Commission and the European decision makers to request immediate actions.

 The European air operators’ associations AEA, EBAA, EEA, ELFAA, ERA and IACA* unanimously conclude that "addressing these issues is of crucial importance in order to ensure that aviation becomes a priority sector in Europe. The associations and their members stand ready to assist with the urgently required follow-up work."

 *AEA (Association of European Airlines), EBAA (European Business Aviation Association), EEA (European Express Association) ELFAA (European Low Fares Airline Association), ERA (European Regions Airline Assocation), IACA (International Air Carrier Association)