EU plans to tackle threats to aviation industry
Airlines including Ryanair, and Aer Lingus owner IAG, have called on the European Commission to tackle airport charges and taxation across the trading bloc in an effort to boost the aviation industry.
Their call came as the Commission yesterday unveiled a new aviation strategy for Europe, which is designed to boost competitiveness in the industry and cement air transport agreements with countries including the United Arab Emirates, China and Qatar.
The UAE is home to Etihad and Emirates, both of whom have been expanding their global geographic footprints and economic interests in recent years. Qatar Airways is also a major global player and earlier this year bought a 10pc stake in IAG.
EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said that European aviation is facing a number of challenges. She claimed the new strategy would "keep European companies competitive, through new investment and business opportunities".
The strategy aims to tackle limits to growth in the sector, which is worth about €110bn in GDP to Europe every year, both on the ground and in the air.
"The main challenge for the growth of EU aviation is to address the capacity, efficiency and connectivity constraints," the Commission said.
"The fragmentation of the European airspace costs at least €5bn a year and up to 50m tonnes of CO2."
It warned that capacity constraints at EU airports could cost up to 818,000 jobs by 2035.
Aviation traffic in Europe is predicted to reach 14.4m flights a year in 2035, 50pc more than in 2012.