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European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery]

A new Aviation Strategy for Europe - Speech by Commissioner Violeta Bulc

Brussels, 9 December 2015


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am proud and happy that this week we launched the EU's Aviation Strategy. Proud, because the document with its action plan is a result of an efficient collaboration effort of all stakeholders. I am happy because we were able to complete it in a timely and comprehensive manner.

I see today's event as a good opportunity to listen and engage with one and other; to identify the challenges and to develop closer cooperation to overcome those challenges.

Europe has been striving to advance aviation with an entrepreneurial spirit since its early days. From the invention of the Montgolfière, to the great pan-European project of Airbus which is manufacturing the largest commercial airliner of our days: European pioneers have a history of shaping global aviation and European regulators have aimed to match the pioneering spirit by creating EU aviation policy.

Aviation matters for the European economy. There are 27,000 flights passing through Europe daily, representing 26% of the world market. It employs 2 million European citizens directly. It contributes 110 billion euro to EU GDP. It ensures that remote areas of the Union can stay connected, and benefit from industries such as tourism, which in some regions would be non-existent without aviation. The overall impact of aviation, when you include tourism, is estimated to be 510 billion euro.

The Strategy will deliver on FIVE of the European Commission's priorities:

  1. To boost economic growth and job creation.
  2. To reinforce Europe's position as a global leader in aviation.
  3. To strengthen Europe's industrial base.
  4. To strengthen the Internal Market.
  5. And to create an Energy Union and tackle Climate Change. I am working closely with Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič in this regard.

Let's take a closer look at the content. There are 6 main themes the Strategy will focus on. These are:

  1. Europe as Global Force
  2. Congestion and Capacity
  3. Maintaining High Standards
  4. Innovation
  5. Investment
  6. Jobs

1. Europe as Global Force

We want EU aviation to remain a leading player in international aviation. This means:

Building relationships in new parts of the world in order to tap into new markets set to experience huge growth, such as China, the Gulf or the ASEAN region.

For this to happen, we need a clear and fair regulatory environment, through comprehensive agreements between the EU and other regions. Market access must be based on a level playing field.

2. Congestion and Capacity

The Strategy will deal with congestion in the sky and capacity at airports. Left unaddressed these issues will stunt the growth of EU aviation; and the cost of fragmentation is up to 5 billion euro per year.

Using the infrastructure we already have more efficiently and planning for the future is crucial.

The economic cost of doing nothing would be up to 818,000 jobs forgone and an annual GDP loss of up to 52 billion euro across the EU by 2035.

I hope the revised Slot Regulation will be adopted quickly to help our busiest airports meet demand for flights Our own house must be in order to compete globally and we must work together to overcome these challenges.

3. High Standards

Maintaining growth and planning for future growth is important, but not at any cost. The Strategy will focus on keeping high standards in the sector especially in the following areas

  • Passenger rights.
  • The Environmental impactsof aviation
  • Safety
  • Security and
  • Social issues,such as workers' rights.

An effective and efficient regulatory framework will allow EU aviation to thrive. It will further reinforce the social dialogue and employment conditions in aviation, and pursue a robust global measure to achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020.

4. Innovation

Innovation and Digitalisation are core enablers for growth in aviation, and the economy. It is central to resolving capacity and congestion issues.

The strategy takes an important step in allowing the early involvement of EASA into the innovation process. This will speed-up the time it takes to bring new products to market.

Unlocking the potential of drones is an important task, and the correct balance between must be struck between elements such as safety and security, legal certainty and privacy & data protection

As part of the revision of EASA Basic Regulation, the Commission put forward an enabling framework for drones to pave the way for our industry's success in this promising market.

5. Investment

EU airlines, investors and manufacturers will be able to tap into high growth new markets once we put in place comprehensive agreements with other regions.

We will issue interpretative guidelines on Regulation 1008/2008 on the control and ownership of airlines. This will bring more legal certainty for airlines and investors.

In addition to this, we are aware that there are problems with the existing 868/2004 regulation on unfair practices. Our goal is to propose new rules to address unfair practices as soon as possible in 2016.

6. Jobs

The EU has planned to invest 430 million euro each year, until 2020 in SESAR. The deployment of SESAR solutions could create over 300,000 new jobs. It will also result in reduced emissions.

The strategy is about creating the right conditions to allow airlines, airports and the aeronautics industry to engage in R and I, allowing for growth.


Benefits of the Strategy

The Commission has taken a complete overview of the sector.Existing projects will continue, but in a more coordinated manner. There will be many benefits.


For citizens, the Strategy will see Safer, Shorter, Cleaner and Cheaper flights, more choice and more destinations.

The Commission will also seek to reduce the burden of security checks on passengers, by using new technology and by applying a risk-based approach.


We will continue to:

(1) Support social dialogue in civil aviation; (2) Strengthen analysis on jobs and employment in aviation and (3) Bring clarity to the legal framework for highly mobile workers on applicable labour law and competent court


Through new comprehensive EU-level air transport agreements, airlines will be able to access new markets. Achieving the Single European sky is a golden opportunity to reduce the economic impact of Air Traffic Management on airlines.


The Commission is updating the EU's safety rules, which will enhance the overall efficiency of the system by introducing a risk and performance based approach. The Commission will negotiate further bilateral aviation safety agreements with aeronautical manufacturing nations such as China and Japan.

European airports

We will seek to negotiate EU-level Comprehensive air transport agreements with third countries and regions. Capacity shortages will be helped by reform of the Slot Regulation.


Ladies and Gentlemen, aviation can no longer be seen in isolation as an element of infrastructure policy. It has become a catalyst for economic growth.

The European Union has already assumed the role of a “game changer” with the creation of a Single Aviation Market.

Aviation has always been a source of great pride in the EU. We have always shaped the aviation sector domestically and globally. We will create the right conditions to keep it this way.

Now is the opportune time to work together, to ensure that we meet head-on the challenges that lie ahead.

Thank you for your time, and I hope today's event will be an enriching one for all parties.


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