Airlines hit out at slow progress in Europe

The head of a group representing international airlines has taken aim at European governments for failing to deliver the Single European Sky (SES).
“By 2020, the Single European Sky (SES) is meant to cut air navigation costs in half and increase capacity by 70%—important goals for the European economy. But states are falling at the first hurdle,” said Tony Tyler, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
“They watered down the modest 4.5% first stage efficiency target proposed by the European Commission to 3.5%. And the latest Performance Review Board assessment is depressing reading. Most states won’t meet even the unambitious targets that they agreed to. And as a result, airlines face €189 million more cost in 2014.
“SES has the strong support of the European Commission, the European Parliament, and Vice President Siim Kallas. They have the full support of the industry to drive a top down approach. This should include severe consequences for states and air navigation service providers that don’t meet their targets,” said Tyler.
Speaking at the IATA AGM and World Air Transport Summit which is taking place in Beijing, China, Tyler also highlighted the need for governments to meet demands for connectivity with airport capacity.
“A few kilometres of runway and an efficient terminal infrastructure can put global markets at the doorstep of every local economy. Some governments understand this and are realizing the benefits of prioritizing airport investments. But there is also a long list of countries that are not taking full advantage of aviation’s economic potential. The United Kingdom is not expanding Heathrow’s runway capacity. Germany is banning night flights at Frankfurt. Australia needs a long-term plan to meet Sydney’s capacity needs. And India has not mustered the political will to build a new airport to serve the needs of its financial capital—Mumbai. And this is just the start of a long list,” said Tyler.
The IATA chief called on governments to be stronger partners in maximizing aviation’s economic and social benefits.
“Our industry’s licence to grow is earned through working with governments to constantly make flying even safer, more secure, and more sustainable. Now we need an agenda to achieve tax regimes that do not kill growth, regulation that facilitates growth, and infrastructure that can efficiently accommodate growth. Doing so will enable the substantial economic benefits—jobs and growth—that global connectivity provides,” said Tyler.
“Where governments are focused on jobs and growth, the urgency of accommodating the increasing demand for connectivity is crystal clear. You cannot unleash the power of an industry to drive economic benefits unless it has the capacity to grow,” said Tyler.