Policymakers urged to crack down on air traffic control strikes and airport charges

Policymakers urged to crack down on air traffic control strikes and airport charges

European policymakers are being urged to act to prevent further air traffic control strikes and crack down on high airport charges.

The call comes from airline lobby group Airlines for Europe [A4E] two years into the EU’s aviation strategy.

The revision of airport charges directive remains most urgent issue to protect passengers from “unjustified and non-transparent” charges.

A4E is demanding the European Commission to “fully grasp the challenges facing aviation and to act swiftly to deliver on the aviation strategy’s priorities of improving efficiency and connectivity, and shifting to a risk and performance based mindset”.

It added: “The achievements and benefits of 25 years of the single market can be furthered through bold policies that would ensure the continuous, clean, safe and competitive mobility of all travellers in Europe.”

A4E managing director Thomas Reynaert said: “In 2017 we have seen good progress with the presentation of the European Commission’s ‘open and connected aviation’ communication in an effort to enhance airspace efficiency and connectivity.

“The Commission rightly encourages member states and stakeholders, including social partners, to take action to improve service continuity in air traffic management which are an important step towards protecting European passengers and the single market in case of ATC strikes.

“But some worrying trends require particular attention to ensure that unjustified burdens on airlines and their passengers are removed.

“Therefore, we welcome the launch of the European Commission’s inception paper for the impact assessment on the EU airport charges directive – we believe that market power abuse of airports needs to be tackled by an economic regulation which sets common principles across the EU for the levying of airport charges.”

The right balance needs to be found to ensure that the mobility of travellers in Europe is not unnecessarily hindered by “artificially determined” levies.

Short term monetary revenues from aviation taxes pale in comparison to the far-reaching benefits the abolition of taxes would bring, A4E claimed.

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study revealed that abolishing all aviation taxes would trigger a GDP increase of €10.5 billion in 2018, and a €215 billion cumulative GDP increase in the Euorpean Economic Area by 2030.

An additional 110,000 new jobs would be created over the next 12 years.

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