The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reacted positively to statements made today by Siim Kallas, Vice President of the European Commission, asserting that delivering a fully functioning Single European Sky (SES) is Europe’s top aviation priority.
“IATA fully supports Vice President Kallas in his efforts to put the long-delayed SES project back on track.
“It is the top priority in rebuilding the competitiveness of the European aviation sector. Cost efficient connectivity is critical to every modern economy.
“The failure of European member states to deliver on the SES places a €5 billion burden on airlines flying in Europe and on their passengers and shippers.
A HEAVY BURDEN
“In these difficult economic times, that is a burden that the Continent cannot afford. Vice President Kallas’ call for action could not be better timed,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
[Left: Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO]
Tyler’s comments followed a keynote address by Vice President Kallas at the SES conference in Limassol today.
Aviation in Europe is a key economic catalyst. Including the impacts of aviation-enabled tourism, the industry supports some 8 million jobs and nearly half a trillion Euros of European Union GDP.
Despite the importance of the sector, Europe’s airlines will show the weakest financial results in the industry.
EUROPEAN AIRLINES IN THE RED
IATA estimates that European airlines will be in the red by $1.2 billion in 2012—the only region in the world to return a collective loss. The sector suffers from high taxes, onerous regulation and infrastructure that is both overlapping and inefficient.
“The impact of cost-efficient connectivity extends to almost every business on the Continent. States understood the economic importance of this. They agreed and set a target for SES to cut the cost of European air navigation in half by 2020.
“That would bring down the average cost to €400 per flight. Today we are nowhere near that. It still costs €715. And if we continue on this trajectory with states failing miserably at improving efficiency, the 2020 target will be impossible to achieve.
The SES is not a panacea for the problems of Europe’s beleaguered airlines. But solving this EUR 5 billion waste would go a long way to improving the sector’s prospects and boost the competitiveness of doing business in Europe,” said Tyler.