The CEOs of Europe’s five largest airline groups - Air France KLM, easyJet, International Airlines Group, Lufthansa Group and Ryanair, Alexandre de Juniac, Carolyn McCall, Willie Walsh, Carsten Spohr and Michael O’Leary - met collectively for the first time yesterday (17 June) and agreed to work together to lobby for the development of a new EU Aviation Strategy that will support growth and jobs across Europe, strengthen the sector and give Europe’s passengers lower fares and more choice.
The meeting took place in Brussels in response to the new EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc’s consultation on a new EU Aviation Strategy. The five agreed a vision for this strategy that would match the revolution in aviation that the liberalisation of Europe’s airline sector created a generation ago, through the creation of the internal aviation market.
The five airlines identified four measures that would support the Commission‘s objectives of enhancing the competitiveness of the European air transport industry both at European and international level, supporting growth and jobs across Europe and which would help consumers through the provision of more flights and lower fares.
These measures are:
- The development of an EU Aviation strategy with a plan for a simple efficient regulatory structure, which would strengthen the competitiveness of European airlines, ensure jobs and growth through innovation (e.g. Horizon 2020), protect consumer interests and promote more efficiency to reduce costs.
- 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 create at airports; and that security charges are efficient. This could be achieved by reforming the Airport Charges Directive.
- Delivering reliable and efficient airspace by reducing the cost of ATC provision; ensuring that ATC strikes do not cause disruption to passengers across Europe; resetting the Single European Sky strategy by focusing on using new technology to make efficiency savings; and using SESAR funding to drive compliance with the Single Sky framework.
- Stimulating more economic activity and jobs by creating the right regulatory environment, removing passenger taxes and unreasonable environmental taxes.
The CEOs agreed to work together to encourage the Commission and EU member states to take up the proposed measures. The five airlines agreed that airline representation in Brussels today is not as effective as it could be – with six airline representative organisations - and agreed to explore possible forms of future representation.
The five airlines between them carried a total of 420 million passengers in 2014, accounting for half of the passenger journeys in Europe.