|Europe's Policymakers Fail To Realise the Economic Value of Regional Aviation|
|Written by Lesley Shepherd|
|Wednesday, 18 April 2012 08:31|
Porto, 18 April 2012
The contribution of Europe’s regional air services to the growth and prosperity of Europe’s peripheral regions, the vital connections they provide and their ability to drive Europe out of a recession, goes largely unrecognised by Europe’s policymakers whose focus is frequently predisposed towards solving problems in the ‘core area of Europe’.
How to change this mind-set in order to ensure the continuation of efficient, high quality air connections with Europe’s regions is one of the key discussion topics at this year’s European Regions Airline Association (ERA) Regional Airline Conference, being held this week in Porto.
Regional airlines are particularly vulnerable to additional taxes and regulatory burdens, while recent proposals to amend the slot allocation regulation threaten to squeeze out regional air services from connecting to congested hub airports in favour of larger, non-European carriers. Whilst customer care is at the forefront of most airlines’ business policies, current passenger rights laws (which oblige airlines to provide unlimited hotel accommodation and meals to passengers when travel is disrupted - even for events beyond the airlines’ control such as volcanic eruptions or bad weather) can be crippling to regional airlines.
Mike Ambrose, ERA Director General, says: “ERA airlines are often the lifeblood of regional communities. They provide critical links between island communities and the mainland, or provide fast, frequent connections to hub airports for business travellers. Around 85% of Europe’s citizens live in the regions and the ability for the regions to participate within the world economy is integral to the future prosperity of Europe. An efficient and sustainable air transport system is critical to achieving this goal. Persuading Europe’s policymakers to take more account of regional interests, is one of the key challenges facing Europe’s regional aviation industry.”
ERA today outlined the key issues that need to be addressed by Europe’s policymakers:
|Last Updated on Monday, 14 May 2012 08:49|