IATA Applauds Europe’s Post-Volcano
Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) applauded the
announcement by the European Commission of a comprehensive program to
provide relief to the air transport sector in the aftermath of
extra-ordinary airspace closures resulting from the ash plume of an
“I applaud Vice Presidents Kallas, Almunia and Rehn for
their quick action. Airlines lost revenues of US$1.7 billion in just six
days, with the greatest impact on European carriers. These urgent
measures will provide much needed assistance to airlines at a time when
their financial resources are stretched,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s
Director General and CEO.
IATA highlighted its particular support for three
longer-term elements of today’s announcement:
Single European Sky:
“The events of last week clearly showed the need for the Single European
Sky. I fully support Vice President Kallas in his efforts to accelerate
the appointment of a European Network Manager by the end of this year.
But that is one element of the Single European Sky. We also need to
accelerate plans for the implementation of functional airspace blocks and
a performance framework to ensure that the system is delivering
efficiencies. We are looking for a strong commitment from Europe’s
transport ministers on all three of these elements when they meet on 4
May,” said Bisignani. IATA estimates that the reduced delays and greater
efficiency that a Single European Sky will bring will have broad
benefits. It is estimated that it will save EUR 5 billion and reduce
carbon emissions by 16 million tonnes a year.
“This was an event completely beyond the control of airlines. We don’t
want bailouts, but government compensation for costs—including the cost
of lost revenue and providing extended care to passengers—should be
provided to airlines in line with Europe’s established rules for
compensating companies in such extra-ordinary events,” said Bisignani.
Improved Aviation Risk
Management for Volcanic Activity: “Safety is always
our top priority. We fully agree that we need a better framework for
decision making to ensure safe operations at times of volcanic activity.
IATA is already working with the International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO) to apply lessons learned from this event to improve global
standards and best practices,” said Bisignani.
Establishing an Aviation
Platform: “The events of last week showed that aviation is
critical to Europe’s life and economy. Too often aviation is over-taxed
and micro-regulated. A platform to raise aviation on the policy agenda
through industry/government interaction is a much needed development to
follow-up on these proposals and to build a more competitive future for
the sector,” said Bisignani.
IATA also welcomed the announcement of flexibility on slot
rules, flight restrictions, and air navigation payments that will provide
some short-term operational and financial relief.
- IATA -
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