At its first meeting of 2014, ERA’s board agreed that targeted communications are intrinsic to its strategy of raising the profile of members to Europe’s decision makers and politicians. An inaugural airline CEOs’ summit, to be held in Brussels on 08 July, is just one in a series of strategic and innovative communication policies and events that will create a dialogue between ERA members and Europe’s leading aviation decision makers.
Passenger rights, state aid, emissions trading, EASA activities, SESAR, the Single European Sky, security and air safety also came under the board’s scrutiny. Pending legislation and developments will have a significant impact on ERA members and the board is focusing its efforts on ensuring that Europe’s decision makers consider their effect on the association’s members.
While the review of EU Regulation 261/2004 is still underway, the board was concerned that a more complex regulation is emerging. ERA continues to work closely with industry colleagues and law makers to help ensure that the outcome is a well-balanced regulation which protects both passengers and operators.
The EU ETS scheme is causing considerable dissent between the various parties considering its future. The different sides are calling for either an intra-EU only scheme or a regional airspace scheme where all flights in EU airspace are included in the EU ETS. Neither option is ideal. ERA’s board continues to believe that a full suspension of the EU ETS, while focusing on delivering a global system by 2016, would be the most reasonable approach.
On the single European sky, the board believes that a more ambitious approach by states is needed to deliver a competitive and stronger European air traffic system. In this context, the board is strongly opposed to actions such as the European day of action planned for 30 January by the European Transport Workers Federation. Strikes and walk-outs by controllers will achieve nothing apart from expense, frustration and confusion for travellers.
Commenting on the meeting, ERA’s President, Boet Kreiken says: The board of ERA now has a stronger, clearer governance and a much sharper focus on delivering for members and defending their interests with Europe’s regulatory bodies. It is frustrating for our industry to see several regulatory developments that are likely to impact intra-European travellers and I hope common sense will prevail in the eventual outcome of these important areas. ERA members provide a vital service to regional, intercontinental and European travellers that no other form of transport can provide efficiently. The importance of the service offered and the strategic relevance of regional carriers in Europe has been highlighted recently by various new and innovative alliances between major intercontinental and regional airlines.”
Simon McNamara, ERA’s Director General adds: “The association continues to go from strength to strength. In 2013 the board set a clear strategy for ERA, we are now delivering this strategy for our members. The fragile state of the industry in Europe and the increasing pace of regulation means that the role of ERA as a voice for its members is more important than ever. With a new European Parliament and Commission in 2014 there is an opportunity to set a fresh direction for aviation as a whole in Europe. The inaugural CEOs’ summit is part of an exciting and focused campaign which will spear head that fresh direction.”