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:
Ensure the full implementation of the Single Sky, as agreed by Governments. The EU Single European Sky is an ambitious initiative launched by the European Commission in 2004 to reform the architecture of European air traffic management.
Extend the work already being done by the Commission to strengthen the possibilities for European aviation to enter new markets – through the signing of bi-lateral agreements.
Define an effective governance structure for the future deployment of SESAR (Singe European Sky Air Traffic Management Research) the technological arm of Single Sky.
Extend the Single Sky principles to areas beyond the borders of the European Union
A decision by the Vice President to establish a high level group on aviation research to look into the specific challenges faced by aviation sector in this area.
Annex: Members of the Aviation Platform
François Ballestero, Political Secretary Civil Aviation and Tourism, European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF)
Capt. Martin Chalk, President of the European Cockpit Association
Claude Chêne, Special Adviser to Vice-President Kallas
Richard Deakin, Chief Executive Officer of NATS Ltd
Louis Gallois, Chief Executive Officer of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS N.V.
Massimo Garbini, Director General of ENAV S.p.A.
Jacek Krawczyk, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of LOT Polish Airlines S.A., Vice-President of the European Economic and Social Committee
Rein Loik, Chairman of the Management Board of Tallinn Airport Ltd
Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG
Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive Officer of easyJet plc
Ad Rutten, Chief Operations Officer of Schiphol Group, President of the Board of Airports Council International - Europe
Antonis Simigdalas, Chief Executive Officer of Olympic Air S.A.
Jean-Cyril Spinetta, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Air France-KLM
Niky Terzakis, Managing Director of TNT Airways SA
Willie Walsh, Chief Executive Officer of British Airways plc and current Chairman of the Presidents' Committee of the Association of European Airlines
Daniel Weder, Chief Executive Officer of Skyguide Swiss Air Navigation Services