The International Air Transport Association has spoken out about the European flight sector, encouraging carriers in this region to develop policies that promote aviation, rather than harm it. In an address to the European Aviation Club, IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler shared what he deemed a “win-win” approach.
“There are numerous areas of common interest between what is good for the industry and what is good for Europe,” Tyler said. Fostering them could prevent European carriers from falling victim to the negative effects of regulation, he explained.
“At present, the general direction is on restricting and taxing aviation,” Tyler continued. “Instead of enabling policies, they seem focused on disabling — an unintended consequence that imposes a big cost on European airlines’ competitiveness.”
The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is an example of this, Tyler asserted. Since January, carriers flying into European airspace have been subjected to additional fuel surcharges — a measure “states see as an attack on their sovereignty,” Tyler stated.
Although IATA endorses carbon-reduction policies, it touts a global approach to sustainability developed though the International Civil Aviation Organization. It’s an approach that may be gaining steam in Europe, Tyler revealed.
“I am sensing a growing recognition in Brussels that a global scheme developed through ICAO would provide a superior solution both for managing aviation’s emissions and to resolving the political problems caused by extending the scheme beyond Europe’s borders,” Tyler said.
Although he said it’s an encouraging development, he fears that the effects of the EU ETS may already be underway. “Airlines from Europe may face some retaliatory action,” Tyler told the European Aviation Club. “And some non-European airlines may have to choose whether to obey the law of their land or that of Europe — two more unintended consequences, which should convince all states that ICAO is the way forward.”
Either way, Tyler said aviation is critical to boosting the crippled economy of Europe. “Over 35 percent of the value of goods traded internationally is transported by air,” Tyler stated. “With austerity budgets across Europe, export revenues from cargo and tourists are critical to support jobs and GDP growth.”