Latest update 08/12/2015: please see below for more details.
On 16 December 2014 the new European Commission released its full work programme outlining its policy priorities for the next 12 months. The document lays out the initiatives that the Commission will propose in the coming year, alongside on-going proposals that it plans to withdraw, amend, or review. For the aviation sector this move is reflected in the proposal of a new aviation package and the withdrawal of the ground handling regulation and aviation security charges directive, for which the Commission says no agreements are in sight.
In order to reach its strategic goals, the Commission launched a public consultation to gather stakeholders' views on the EU aviation sector and to identify challenges, opportunities and possible measures to improve the competitiveness of the EU aviation sector. The results of this consultation will enable the Commission to define the best solutions to re-invigorate EU leadership in aviation.
The findings of this consultation, as well as the findings from those earlier consultation activities, will feed into a comprehensive Aviation Strategy that is expected to be published in the next few months.
ERA informed members about the consultation process and submitted a response to the online questionnaire on 10 June, recommending members to provide their own comments and input. In parallel, the EC opened a separate consultation on the mid-term review of the EC 2011 white paper on transport.
On 3 February ERA released its strategy document on the future of regional aviation at a media event. This document is being used as the basis for ERA’s position on the consultation on aviation package and can be found here[LM1] . The directorate has coordinated responses with members and presented key issues at a breakfast meeting with EU regulators that took place following the July ERA Board meeting in Brussels. ERA’s responses focused on six key areas of concerns to members, namely: Competition between EU and non-EU Carriers; Un-necessary and burdensome EU Regulation; Ownership and Control: Environment and taxation: Public Service Obligations and regional connectivity; Airport charges.
Latest update 08/12/2015: On 7 December 2015, following a year of preparatory work and consultation with stakeholders, the European Commission (EC) released its long awaited Communication “An Aviation Strategy for Europe” (or Aviation Strategy). In March 2015 the Commission launched a public consultation to gather stakeholders' views on the EU aviation sector and to identify challenges, opportunities and possible measures to improve the competitiveness of the EU aviation sector. The results of this consultation were aimed at enabling the Commission to define the best solutions to re-invigorate EU leadership in aviation.
ERA informed members about the consultation process and submitted a response to the online questionnaire on 10 June 2015, recommending members to provide their own comments and input. ERA contributed to the Aviation Strategy also by direct representation to a number of consultative forums and by the active involvement of members at ERA’s Industry Affairs Group. Many of the proposals mirrored proposals promoted in ERA’s own strategy released at the beginning of this year.
Unfortunately, ERA believes that the Strategy will not increase the long-term competitiveness of the industry compared to other methods of transport and non-European competitors. However, ERA is ready to work with the European Commission, Council and Parliament to ensure that the direction is modified to deliver on its original intent - a stronger, fitter and more efficient air transport system. Many of the actions proposed in the EC’s Strategy are short term, have no distinct timelines for achievement and do not provide a strong and clear action plan in order to strengthen Europe’s aviation industry.
Despite identifying most of the key subjects (infrastructure development, investment needs, importance of connectivity, tackling monopoly service providers, and improved safety) and talking in positive terms about aviation, the strategy is weak on definitive actions. For example, the issue of the looming airport capacity shortage at hubs is mentioned, but no tangible remedies to this problem are proposed.
ERA will comprehensively review and analyse the content and start the lobbying process on what can be endorsed, what should be modified and what has to be rejected. At the same time, ERA has been coordinating with the other airline trade associations and was able to agree and issue a joint press release (see useful links below). ERA also undertook a more detailed initial analysis for the purpose of briefing the media (see useful links below).
The directorate is planning to issue a detailed position paper on the EC’s Strategy by January 2016.
For further information please contact Leonardo.Massetti@eraa.org