Virgin Atlantic today announced that it had become a member of the Association of European Airlines (AEA). At a meeting in Brussels today the Chairmen and CEOs of the existing members of the AEA voted unanimously to grant Virgin Atlantic membership with effect from 1 July 2003. Virgin Atlantic was proposed for membership of the AEA by British Airways and Air France.
Commenting on Virgin Atlantic’s membership of the AEA, the airline’s Chief Executive, Steve Ridgway, said:
“Virgin Atlantic is extremely pleased to be joining the AEA at what is by any measure a difficult time for the aviation industry both in terms of the prevailing market conditions and the unprecedented level of regulation from governments and other bodies around the globe.
“The AEA is the largest aviation trade body in Europe. It has unrivalled contacts with the European Commission and the European Parliament and more often than not it is the first port of call for politicians and officials when they seek industry views on European policy and regulations. Because of this the AEA plays an important part in communicating the views of the industry within Europe.
“At a time when the role and influence of the European Commission and the European Parliament is becoming more important in the field of aviation, we felt that it was vital to the company’s interests to belong to a trade body that was well connected and had a central role in Brussels. The AEA fulfils that position.
“Virgin Atlantic has always prided itself on its individuality and innovative approach to issues. Our membership of the AEA will not detract from that. It will, however, help us work more closely with other carriers on areas of mutual interest at a time when there are more and more regulatory initiatives emerging and ever increasing government interference in our industry.”
On his part, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, Secretary General of the AEA welcomed Virgin Atlantic to the AEA
“The individuality and the entrepreneurial spirit of Virgin will further strengthen the AEA. In these very difficult times for the industry and with major programs being discussed in the Community, like external relations, EASA and Single Sky, the membership of Virgin Atlantic is vital for all concerned.”
1. The AEA is the main trade body for full service scheduled airlines within Europe. Based in Brussels, The AEA is a non-profit-making association. It operates and is represented jointly by all its members or by persons named for this purpose by the Assembly. The Secretary General normally acts as the Association`s spokesman.
2. The AEA represents the interests of its members to the institutions of the European Union, to the European Civil Aviation Conference, to any other institutional organisations or association involved in or likely to be involved in issues of interest to AEA members and, as appropriate, to individual governments. The AEA currently has 30 members from across Europe, including all of the major scheduled carriers. Further information on the AEA can be found on its website at www.aea.be.