Officials at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have urged European policymakers to focus efforts on measures to shore-up the competitiveness of the regional aviation sector.
“At this critical time for European economies it is important that policies focus on measures that support economic growth and job creation, enhance competitiveness and support sustainable development,” said IATA director general Tony Tyler.
Tyler also urged policymakers to work with industry on win-win solutions.
“There are numerous areas of common interest between what is good for the industry and what is good for Europe,” said Tyler.
He noted that such an approach could help avoid “unintended consequences” of regulation.
“At present, the general direction is on ‘restricting and taxing’ aviation.
“Instead of ‘enabling’ policies, they seem focused on ‘disabling’—an unintended consequence that imposes a big cost on European airlines’ competitiveness,” said Tyler.
Tyler’s remarks came in a speech to the European Aviation Club.
Key points include the following policy priorities:
Capacity: While IATA welcomed many aspects of the recent Airports Package, Tyler highlighted the industry’s concern for the intention to change the 80:20 use-it-or-lose-it rule to 85:15 for airport slot management.
“The current 80:20 rule is based on IATA’s Worldwide Slot Guidelines which are used at 161 airports globally.
“Changing this to 85:15 incentivises airlines to fly when demand is not there.
“Flying empty planes does not improve competitiveness or environmental performance, which is surely an unintended consequence.
“The focus should shift to building the airport capacity needed to fulfil economic growth,” added Tyler.
Single European Sky (SES): SES will improve Europe’s competitiveness by increasing airspace capacity, improving safety, cutting carbon emissions by some 16 million tonnes annually and halving air traffic management costs.
The latest SES progress report notes that only five out of 27 states are on track to meet agreed upon targets to reduce delays and improve cost efficiency.
And only one out of the nine Functional Airspace Blocks is expected to meet the year-end target deadline.
EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS): IATA continued to call for a global solution through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as the key to breaking the impasse on Europe’s plans to unilaterally include international aviation in the EU ETS.
“The unintended consequences of the unilateral and extra-territorial approach go beyond market distortions to states seeing this as an attack on their sovereignty.
“I am sensing a growing recognition in Brussels that a global scheme developed through ICAO would provide a superior solution both for managing aviation’s emissions and to resolving the political problems caused by extending the scheme beyond Europe’s borders,” concluded Tyler.