Chief Executives of Europe’s leading airlines met in Brussels today for the twice-yearly Presidents’ Assembly of the Association of European Airlines. A highlight of the occasion was the opportunity for a wide-ranging dialogue between the CEOs and Matthias Ruete, the recently-appointed Director General for Energy & Transport in the European Commission.
Dr Ruete emphasised that he would maintain the approach of Transport Commissioner Barrot in listening to industry positions and involving stakeholders in all phases of decision-making processes.
Chairing the Assembly, Wolfgang Mayrhuber, CEO of Lufthansa and AEA Chairman for 2006, welcomed the cooperative spirit which was developing between the industry and its regulators. “Given the precarious situation of airlines – high kerosene prices, competitive threats from state subsidised non-European carriers – all efforts should be focused on enhancing Europe’s competitiveness”, he said. “Aviation plays a key role for Europe globally. We are pleased that the Commission acknowledges this”.
The Commission has undertaken major initiatives to address imbalances in the airlines’ value chain. Together with other key players of the industry, the Commission intends to pursue the dialogue on airport capacity, airport charges and ground handling launched in the spring in Brussels and Salzburg, and continues to promote the creation of a Single European Sky.
Likewise, the Council has become active in aviation matters. The Austrian Presidency recently organised an Aviation Summit in Salzburg which enabled European aviation authorities to discuss with all sectors of the industry a framework for sustainable growth.
In thanking Dr Ruete for the engagement he has shown towards the aviation portfolio, and his contribution towards the Assembly proceedings, Mr Mayrhuber continued: “We hope that in a year from now, the German Presidency of the EU will organise a similar event, to review progress towards such sustainability. Our goal is to contribute to making the Lisbon agenda reality for aviation. We commend the EU institutions for their willingness to engage in a constructive dialogue with the industry”.
During the Assembly, the members also unilaterally approved the application of Air One as an AEA member.
Source: Association of European Airlines (AEA)
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