Etihad urges Europe to embrace reform

Etihad urges Europe to embrace reform

Europe is the way of aviation future, and should step up to become a leader on policy reforms, says Etihad Airways.

The carrier has urged the European Commission to embrace “bold, exciting and world-leading reforms” as part of the Strategic Aviation Package to overhaul Europe’s air transport industry.

In a detailed submission to the Commission, UAE’s national carrier advocates a policy that puts competition and consumer choice at the top of the priority list.

The airline also urges the Commission to address critical shortfalls in aviation infrastructure and ease up on restrictions on market access and investments by non-European airlines.

“We welcome the opportunity to contribute to this important process, given our significant operations into Europe and our investments in a number of European carriers,” the airline said.

“We believe that this gives us a unique perspective on the current regulatory environment in Europe, as well as a sense of what needs to change in order to ensure a vibrant and competitive industry in the future.”

“The Strategic Aviation Package proposed by the European Commission represents a significant  ‘window of opportunity’ to strengthen the European air transport sector as an economic and social enabler, and a key driver of growth, through bold, exciting and world-leading initiatives which improve the efficiency of the industry and increase global flight connectivity.”

Etihad Airways has pitched nine principles to set its plans into motion:

  1. Put competition and consumers at the forefront of policy development;
  2. Think globally, not locally;
  3. Ensure that connectivity is at the heart of EU aviation and transport policy;
  4. Support innovation in business models, and not artificially constrain them;
  5. Promote transparency, efficiency and legal certainty in order to attract external investment;
  6. Take a holistic approach to security;
  7. Tackle regulatory obstacles and infrastructure inefficiencies, and fully reflect Better Regulation practices;
  8. Encourage structural reforms in the air transport industry, and;
  9. Promote open skies.

Etihad’s core operations and capital spending in 2015 racked up a massive €3.3 billion to the EU’s GDP, as well as supporting over 51,000 jobs.

Similarly, there has been significant growth in flights and demand between Europe and the key regions serviced by Etihad, as well as a boost to the competition and connectivity of Etihad’s investments and codeshare partnerships.

And in an analysis of the state support received by European countries, the Risk Advisory Group revealed the while Etihad doesn’t challenge the European system, it does hope to show that this system has created an unfair playing field for new entrants to the game.

Commenting on the European aviation review, Etihad’s president and ceo James Hogan said change needs to happen in order to benefit passengers around the world.

“Aviation in 2015 is global, not local,” Hogan said.

“By taking a strategic and holistic approach to aviation policy-making, the European Commission can deliver meaningful change, not just for Europe, but also for the benefit of air travellers and the airline industry worldwide, just as the US did with its visionary Open Skies Policy.”

Etihad Airways has invested in five European airlines – Alitalia, airberlin, Air Serbia, Aer Lingus and the Swiss regional operator Darwin Airline, which trades under the Etihad Regional brand.

“Etihad Airways recognises the enormous growth achieved by liberalisation of intra-European airline operations, and urges the European Commission to now be the catalyst for global air transport reforms by easing restrictions on non-European airline access to member states and global investment in airlines domiciled within the EU,” Hogan added.

“The European Commission has declared that it wants to revive Europe as an economic powerhouse, and a hub for jobs, for growth and for investment.  Air transport is essential for such a promising agenda and for international trade.”

“Such liberalisation would align with the Commission’s commitment to adopt policies which create investment, employment and economic confidence, while also providing access to new sources of capital via international investment.”

“The Strategic Aviation Package clears the way for a new round of change, not just for aviation within Europe, but for European aviation in a global market. The European Commission has a rare and important opportunity to reset the agenda with bold, exciting and world-leading reforms, which increase competition, benefit consumers and drive economic growth.”

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