In an unprecedented initiative, European Union Transportation Commissioner Jacques Barrot convened a meeting of Europe’s aviation industry leaders and their regulators for a one-day conference in Brussels titled, “The Future of Aviation Regulation in Europe.”
Representing Europe’s major network airlines, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, secretary general of the Association of European Airlines (AEA), presented his views on a regulatory landscape that would meet the needs of this key European industry and its customers.
Mr. Schulte-Strathaus said, “Our airlines want to offer their passengers a safe, direct, comfortable and affordable flight from A to B.
“However, their costs are increasing because of an array of national, pan-European, European Union and international agencies that all regulate aviation in Europe and levy all sorts of fees and charges. We have one European market for 25 European sovereign states.”
The AEA has commended Mr. Barrot for “being serious” about a dialogue between the European aviation sector and the EU Commission on enhancing Europe’s competitiveness.
“Consultation with European member states and industry is a ‘methode a la Barrot’ that should become institutionalized throughout Europe,” said Mr. Schulte-Strathaus. “We have regulators at regional, national and EU level. But we actually need only one European safety agency, like the U.S., for one single European market. And we have industry involvement in the creation of one single air traffic management in Europe for one single European sky. Surely there is room for simplification.”
The AEA feels that regulators should facilitate the task of airlines to provide safe air services in open and fair competition for European consumers. “That is the added value we expect from the European Union for Europe’s aviation sector – to help us become sustainably competitive globally,” added Mr. Schulte-Strathaus.