Brussels, 20 October 2010
New Aviation Platform to address challenges for the European aviation sector
European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for of transport, today met top-level representatives of the European aviation sector to discuss future challenges for aviation in Europe at the first-ever meeting of the Aviation Platform. The Aviation Platform has been set up to give strategic advice to the Vice President in order to establish the basis for a sustainable future for air transport and a competitive future for the European aviation industry.
Vice-President Kallas said: "Air transport is facing tremendous challenges and is under increased pressure to respond to business and policy requirements. It is therefore vital to reflect strategically on its future in Europe. In order to maintain the competitiveness of the European economy and to satisfy the mobility needs of Europe's citizens and businesses, we need an efficient, reliable and affordable air transport system."
The Aviation Platform met for the first time in Brussels today (20 October). Vice-President Kallas invited 15 top-level personalities from the aviation sector - representing airlines, airports, trade unions, air traffic management and the aviation industry - as members of the Aviation Platform. It is foreseen that the Platform, which is chaired by the Vice President, will meet twice per year to discuss the strategic challenges for the European aviation sector.
The Commission announced the establishment of an Aviation Platform in the wake of April's volcanic ash cloud crisis. EU Transport Ministers and stakeholder representatives welcomed the creation of the Aviation Platform as a means to engage in a strategic dialogue.
In spite of the global economic crisis, more than 750 million passengers departed from or arrived at EU airports in 2009. The aviation industry (which includes airlines, airports, air navigation service providers, groundhandling providers, maintenance organisations) directly employs about 700,000 people in Europe. Until recently, air transport in Europe had shown high growth rates, despite facing increasing environmental and capacity challenges.
The main conclusions from the Platform include the need to:
Annex: Members of the Aviation Platform