At a critical time for European economies it is important that aviation policies focus on measures that support economic growth and job creation, enhance competitiveness and support sustainable development, according to Tony Tyler, director general and CEO, the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Tyler urged European policymakers to focus aviation efforts on measures to shore-up the competitiveness of Europe’s aviation sector.
Tyler also urged policymakers to work with industry on win-win solutions. “There are numerous areas of common interest between what is good for the industry and what is good for Europe,” said Tyler.
He noted that such an approach could help avoid “unintended consequences” of regulation. “At present, the general direction is on ‘restricting and taxing’ aviation. Instead of ‘enabling’ policies, they seem focused on ‘disabling’—an unintended consequence that imposes a big cost on European airlines’ competitiveness,” said Tyler.
Tyler’s remarks came in a speech to the European Aviation Club.
Key points include concerns with airport capacity, development of a single European airspace capacity, EU Emissions Trading plans (EU ETS) and biofuels.
Tyler stressed the economic benefits of aviation.
“With austerity budgets across Europe, export revenues from cargo and tourists are critical to support jobs and GDP growth. Over 35 percent of the value of goods traded internationally are transported by air. The 655 million people who flew in Europe last year facilitated business and tourism. And the aviation supply chain sustains millions of European jobs, which became visible when the 2010 volcanic ash crisis brought Europe and much of the world to a halt,” said Tyler.
IATA commissioned 54 studies from Oxford Economics to quantify the benefits of aviation at the national level, Tyler said. Highlights for major European economies include the UK where aviation supports 1.4 million jobs and 5 percent of GDP, France with one million jobs and 3.9 percent of GDP and Germany with 1.1 million jobs and 2.6 percent of GDP.
“These studies provide a factual platform to engage policy-makers to make aviation deliver even broader economic benefits. In Europe that means: (1) applying global standards to a global industry whenever possible, (2) ensuring sufficient capacity to grow, (3) delivering the Single European Sky, (4) taking a global approach to climate change and (5) ensuring that taxation policies and regulation enable safe, efficient and sustainable growth,” said Tyler.