IATA is calling for a spirit of change from governments to capture the social and economic benefits of air connectivity, by enabling a more competitive air transport sector.
Today 8.5 million flights touch Europe each year. That activity supports 12.2 million jobs and $823 billion of European GDP.
Those benefits have the potential to increase with the expected 50% growth in demand for air connectivity over the next two decades.
To fully realize this potential Europe must address deep-rooted issues which hamper the competitiveness of Europe’s aviation sector.
Chief among the concerns are the onerous regulation, high taxes, inefficient air traffic management, and a lack of sufficient infrastructure capacity.
In a keynote address to the inaugural IATA Wings of Change Europe conference in Madrid, Spain, IATA’s director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac said: “In 2037, 1.9 billion passengers should be travelling to, from and within this continent. That growth will create jobs and drive a modern economy. But these economic and societal benefits will only materialize if Europe provides a playing field on which its airline industry can be competitive.”
And he added: “Governments must embrace a spirit of change in their policies and ambitions for aviation. If governments make the right decisions for aviation – effective regulations, fair taxes and efficient infrastructure – the competitiveness of the entire European economy will improve.”
IATA also announced that it is developing a Competitiveness Toolkit, which will provide governments with an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of their air connectivity. The analysis will be updated regularly, to enable stakeholders to measure progress.
The first country report, for Spain, was published at Wings of Change, with key European states to follow in the coming weeks.
The airline industry association identified three key areas of action to enhance European competitiveness: improving air traffic management, enhancing aviation infrastructure, and reducing the cost and regulatory burden.