The European Commission has finally released its official proposals aimed at safeguarding competition in the air transport industry nearly two years after it announced a new strategy to help inject life into the European aviation industry.
Europe’s aviation industry is facing new competitive challenges in the evolving global market, while European airlines are restricted in their ability to access markets outside of the EU.
“This proposal is yet another important step in the implementation of the EU Aviation Strategy, announced over two years ago. The future success of EU aviation depends on how effectively the strategy is implemented,” said Jacek Krawczyk, president of the EESC’s employer group. “Taking into account the importance of aviation for the EU economy, all stakeholders must be even more involved in the implementation of the strategy,” he added.
The EU Aviation Strategy calls for working with countries outside of the EU to increase connectivity, competition and options for passengers. These agreements work as incentives for third-party countries to follow EU rules in exchange for access to the EU market.
The EESC stressed that a level playing field between the EU and external competitors in the aviation sector is possible only if third countries also respect basic principles of labour and consumer protection as well as environmental standards. The committee says it is important to negotiate “fair-competition clauses” in international air services to establish a good working relationship.
The proposal is also expected to bring some economic benefits because EU airlines will be able to compete fairly with outside airlines and allow for more choices to attract more customers.
Air traffic in Europe is expected to reach 14.4 million flights in 2035, 50 per cent more than in 2012. European airports will not be able to accommodate such a high number of passengers due to capacity shortages.