Nearly every corner of Europe can nowadays be reached by a flight of less than four hours. This ability to travel easily throughout the continent has transformed the way Europeans live, work and wander. To the rest of the world, it has brought closer Europe’s wonders and opportunities. In no small part, aviation has contributed to the strengthening of ties between citizens, businesses, and governments across borders, materializing the cornerstones of European integration — the free movement of people and goods.
The industry is an economic enabler, supporting investment, tourism, trade and job creation, including in remote and peripheral regions of Europe. Overall, aviation directly and indirectly supports an estimated 9.4 million jobs and contributes €624 billion (4%) to EU GDP.
Recognizing the transformation of the airline industry and the considerable challenges it faces in Europe, the CEOs of Air France-KLM, easyJet, IAG, Lufthansa Group and Ryanair came together in 2015, uniting beyond traditionally perceived divides between legacy and low-cost carriers. In an unprecedented way, the five largest European airlines decided to form a single voice for aviation’s most pressing issues in Brussels.
They were convinced that there could no longer be a delay in defining a clear long-term vision for aviation in Europe, and that the achievements and benefits of 25 years of the single market could be even furthered through bold policies that would benefit consumers, ensuring a continuous, clean, safe and competitive air transport market. Emboldened by the lack of progress made by previous EU airline associations, Airlines for Europe (A4E) successfully launched in January 2016.
Today, A4E counts 16 leading airline groups as its members, representing over 70 per cent of European air traffic. New carriers both big and small, from low-cost to leaser, legacy and cargo have joined. Beyond airlines, global manufacturers such as Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, GE, and Thales have also become members of A4E.