10-Jun-2011 9:35 AM

Europe's aviation policy lacks clear vision

European Regions Airline Association (ERA) criticised (09-Jun-2011) the recently published European Commission (EC) White Paper for Transport, which the ERA states "missed the opportunity for setting a clear vision for the future of air transport in Europe and lacks the innovative, free market policies needed to achieve it". ERA outlined its "significant concerns on several aspects of the Paper" listing "inconsistencies and contradictory arguments" such as: [more]

  • Failure to recognise on-going environmental improvements made by air transport and to address the underlying problems facing European transport. For example, the shortage of airport capacity will not be resolved by any EC proposal to change the EU Slot Allocation regulation;
  • Continuing to ignore the subsidies applied to rail while promoting principles of "fair competition" and "user pays" to all modes;
  • Promoting the principle of consumer choice while advocating a policy of deliberate market manipulation towards rail.

The ERA Board, however, welcomed the following positive aspects of the paper which recognise:

  • The important contribution of SES and SESAR in helping industry to meet emissions targets;
  • That regional aviation is vital in connecting Europe’s regions and for socio-economic development;
  • That deregulation was largely responsible for today’s highly competitive and efficient air transport industry;
  • That rail is tied by national interests and provides very limited competition or consumer choice;
  • The need for a level playing field for and between competing modes of transport;
  • The importance to Europe of having a globally competitive transport industry.

ERA: “The inconsistent and contradictory arguments that litter this Paper show that opposing forces are at work which the Commission must address before developing any future transport policies. ERA believes that the adoption of free market principles of consumer choice and fair competition across and within modes of transport can be achieved. However, it is vital that Regulators understand and work with the industry, as progress can only be achieved by using a partnership approach that involves industry at every step of the decision making process.” Mike Ambrose, Director General. Source: ERA, 09-Jun-2011.

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