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Five major European airline groups launched a new alliance aimed at promoting their interests when dealing with national and EU regulators, today (20 January) in Amsterdam Schiphol airport.
Aviation companies employ almost 2 million people in the European Union and contribute 110 billion euros to the EU economy, according to the European Commission. But competitors such as Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways have been gaining ground in the European market. The new group of airlines follows European allegations that their Gulf rivals enjoy a competitive edge due to what they say is unfair financing from their energy-rich, deep-pocketed state owners.
The new alliance will “represent the interests of its members when dealing with the EU institutions, international organisations and national governments on European aviation issues,” the group said in a statement.
The new association, Airlines for Europe (A4E), brings together Air France-KLM, easyjet, International Airlines Group (British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling), the Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, SWISS, Germanwings and Eurowings) and Ryanair, and plans to expand its membership during the coming months.
The airlines aim to “increase their competitiveness and result in lower fares and more choice for passengers,” by tackling industry issues such as “large-scale airport monopolies, high charges, taxation and inefficiencies,” the group added in their statement.
The group also presented its first study on Wednesday, showing that airport charges at the EU‘s 21 largest airports had increased by 80 per cent in the last 10 years, while flight costs dropped 20 per cent over the same period.