Business World

Saturday 24 March 2018

Norwegian, Finnair join IAG and Ryanair EU lobby group

Finnair has joined Airlines for Europe (A4E)
Finnair has joined Airlines for Europe (A4E)
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Finnair and Norwegian have joined Airlines for Europe (A4E), a group spearheaded by IAG, Ryanair and others that represents carriers' interests in the EU.

The lobby group was formally established last month, with Ryanair, IAG (which owns Aer Lingus), Lufthansa, EasyJet and Air France-KLM comprising the founding members.

Among its aims is pressuring the European Union to effectively regulate monopoly airports.

It has argued that in the last 10 years, charges rose 90pc at the 10 largest European airports, as airline fares dropped 20pc.

Norwegian chief executive Bjorn Kjos said the airline - which has been battling US regulators and unions to expand its services to there - believes in healthy competition to create more choice and lower fares.

"But we also firmly believe in an industry where low-cost and network carriers can unite to tackle the many issues we all face together," he said. Norwegian had intended to operate a Cork-Boston services from this summer. The plans have been suspended because Norwegian hasn't yet been able to secure US clearance.

Finnair chief executive Pekka Vauramo said it's "vital" that airlines participate in discussions on issues of common interest.

IAG boss Willie Walsh said last month that A4E would only focus on areas where its members are in agreement and on issues where the European Commission can have an effect.

In New York yesterday, the chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Tony Tyler, said that fares are 57pc lower than in 1995, after adjusting for inflation and excluding surcharges and taxes.

Mr Tyler said the US government had collected $22.6bn (€20.5bn) last year in fees and taxes from aviation activities.

Irish Independent

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