Plans announced for new European airlines body

Plans announced for new European airlines body

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Plans for a new trade body are reportedly being drawn up by European airlines.

The new group could include the airlines that walked out of the Association of European Airlines (AEA) as well as low-cost carriers such as easyJet.

The move follows a row over the growing strength of Gulf carriers which fractured the previous alliance and prompted members, including International Airlines Group, to pull out, the Financial Times reported.

The dispute spurred British Airways and Iberia parent IAG to defect last month to the European Low Fares Airlines Association.

Etihad Airways partners Air Berlin, which cited concerns about “protectionist policies”, and Alitalia have also left and have not joined any trade body.

Remaining members were upset by the sudden exits, but publicly the AEA has played down the departures, saying it had not taken a public position on the debate over Gulf carriers.

“We strongly deny we are a protectionist association,” Geert Sciot, head of communications at AEA, told the FT. “The chairman of AEA would not be the head of Turkish Airlines if so.”

Lufthansa, which remains in the AEA, said: “We have to sit together to define the common denominator and our differences.

“It is a good starting point for restructuring the whole airline association landscape in Europe.”


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