By Martin Banks - 25th May 2012
We can't deliver growth with a trade war hanging over us
European airline chiefs have warned that Europe's economic recovery could be jeopardised if regulators do not create the conditions that airlines need to stimulate growth for other industries.
Commission vice-president for transport Siim Kallas met with the 34 CEOs in Brussels, where just hours earlier European leaders held an informal summit to discuss prospects for EU growth.
Speaking in Brussels on Thursday, Association of European Airlines chairman Bernard Gustin, said, "Europe's political leaders need to get serious about the growth agenda and provide fertile soil for its key industries to develop."
Gustin, who is also the CEO of Brussels Airlines, the Belgian national carrier, added, "For the airline sector, this means a global solution on emissions trading, a single European sky which actually delivers and an end to economically-illiterate regulation."
He added, "There is a fundamental disconnect between the vital economic role of European airlines and the burdens that we face.
"We are sick and tired of European fragmentation and misguided regulation hampering our ability to support growth and jobs. This needs to change and we are ready to work with the commission and member states on solutions."
Further comment came from Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz who said, "We welcome the commission's efforts to push through the single European sky, but we are furious that the largest EU member states are simply not delivering. This fragmentation is ridiculous and unacceptable."
He added, "The commission must stand firm, rejecting every national performance plan that falls short of the EU-wide target. We will give them our full support in this initiative."
International Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh also urged the commission to 'break the current deadlock' over the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS).
Walsh said, "The commission must diffuse tensions on ETS and take concrete steps to achieve a global solution. We can't deliver growth with a trade war hanging over us. We need action, not denial."
Meanwhile, Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer and the AEA, which represents Europe's leading network carriers, announced a new business partnership.
The AEA strategic partnership agreement will give Embraer access to the association's comprehensive resources for industry intelligence, policy analysis and regulatory issues.