EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc stressed the importance of reaching an ambitious global solution in order to achieve carbon neutral growth for aviation as of 2020, and invited the U.S. to join these efforts. She also promoted the new Aviation Strategy, a milestone initiative adopted by the European Commission in 2015, to boost the global competitiveness of European aviation. Beside discussions on ICAO and the Aviation Strategy, the Commissioner also took stock of the implementation of the 2010 EU-US Open Skies Agreement. Commissioner Bulc seized this opportunity to reiterate the Commission's concerns regarding Norwegian Air International (NAI) pending request for a foreign air carrier permit to the U.S. authorities.
Commissioner Bulc said, "Transatlantic cooperation has so far been very positive for our respective aviation industries. The US is by far the most important extra-European market for EU airlines and thanks to the open skies agreement, transatlantic traffic grew by 18% in the last ten years. We also concluded a new generation of "one-stop-security" agreements to harmonize our security regimes so as to cut red-tape for our companies and alleviate the burden of security checks for passengers. But on both sides of the Atlantic, the aviation sector is facing new challenges. The rapid growth of the Asia-Pacific region is shifting the centre of gravity of international aviation inexorably towards the East and we need to make sure that our industry can stay ahead of the curve. Such is the rationale of the "Aviation Strategy for Europe" that the Commission adopted in December 2015 and that I today presented to my counterparts. And while global traffic growth offers tremendous opportunities to EU and US companies alike, it also poses clear sustainability issues, which we can only address at the international level. My message today was therefore very clear: to meet these new challenges, we will need more transatlantic cooperation. We need a united EU-US front to decarbonise aviation and allow our respective companies to grow sustainably and tap into new emerging markets. Such united front shall however not be put at risk by the failure of the US authorities to take a decision on Norwegian Air International, after more than two years. I hope that actions will rapidly be taken to ensure compliance with the EU-US Air Transport Agreement and lead to a positive outcome for both parties. The EU is seriously considering all available options to swiftly solve the issue."