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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for a spirit of change from governments to capture the social and economic benefits of air connectivity, by enabling a more competitive air transport sector.
- Today 8.5 million flights touch Europe each year. That activity supports 12.2 million jobs and $823 billion of European GDP. Those benefits have the potential to increase with the expected 50% growth in demand for air connectivity over the next two decades.
- According to Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, governments should make the right decisions for aviation like effective regulations, fair taxes and efficient infrastructure in order to increase aviation sector growth and competitiveness of the entire European economy.
- IATA identified three key areas of action to enhance European competitiveness: improving air traffic management, enhancing aviation infrastructure, and reducing the cost and regulatory burden.
Air Traffic Management
A four-point plan for improvements should be adopted without delay by the European Commission, States, Air Navigation Service Providers and their staff, comprising:
- Reforms to outdated work practices
- Modernization of the ATM infrastructure
- Empowering the European Network Manager
- Strengthening the Performance and Charging Scheme regulation
- There is an urgent need to build more airport capacity, but IATA urged caution with the involvement of the private sector in running airports. And existing capacity must be handled with care.
- The European Slot Regulation has worked well to manage constrained airports in a way which ensures stable schedules while creating openings for new competition.
IATA encouraged European regulators to focus on two key regulatory reforms:
- The EU261 compensation scheme is complicated for airlines and passengers, and wholesale reform is urgently needed.
- The Airport Charges Directive has failed to keep airport charges competitive. Over the last decade, passenger charges have doubled as a proportion of the ticket price. Those airports which have strong market power must be effectively regulated.