Home Airlines IATA chief slams Europe’s “burdensome” aviation regulations

IATA chief slams Europe’s “burdensome” aviation regulations

IATA DG and CEO Alexandre de Juniac

IATA DG and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said European aviation is “beset with burdensome regulations,” and argued that a “spirit of change” is needed to improve the competitiveness of European airlines.

His remarks came during a Nov. 13 keynote speech at IATA’s Wings of Change Europe conference in Madrid.

De Juniac singled out the Airport Charges Directive and the EU 261 passenger rights legislation as examples of regulatory overreach stifling growth in European air travel. For the former, which charges airlines to use airport facilities, de Juniac said the initiative had “not kept airport charges competitive,” and noted that passenger charges have doubled as a proportion of the ticket price.

As for EU 261, which requires airlines to compensate passengers for delays, cancellations and involuntary denied boardings, de Juniac labeled the rule a “mess for airlines and passengers” and a “bonanza for claims agencies and their dubious practices.”

In addition, he criticized the European Court of Justice for issuing “intolerable interpretations” of the rule which “do nothing to help passengers,” and said the only solution to the regulatory headache was a “wholesale reform” of the rule

The IATA chief said that “urgent action is needed” to ensure improvements for air traffic management (ATM) are in place for Summer 2019, and cautioned that airlines cannot afford to wait for the benefits of the Single European Sky program—a legislative frameworkfor European ATM—to materialize. Although IATA still believes in the project, de Juniac said airlines are running out of patience, and urged countries to focus instead on developing National Airspace Strategies (NAS) to cope in the meantime.

On airport capacity, de Juniac called Europe’s plans for expanding airports “grossly inadequate,” although he stressed that involving the private sector to fund infrastructure initiatives could “become complicated.” In the meantime, he emphasized that the current European Slot Regulation is the “only fair way to manage slots” at slot-constrained airports, and said problems experienced by carriers trying to get their ideal schedules reflect a lack of capacity, not a fault with slots allocation.

“If governments make the right decisions for aviation—effective regulations, fair taxes and efficient infrastructure—the competitiveness of the entire European economy will improve,” de Juniac said.



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