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  • More than 1 billion air passengers expected in Europe this year.
  • Revised airports legislation would save EU passengers hundreds of millions of Euros and boost tourism.
  • A4E joins high-level conference on tourism at the   European Parliament during World Tourism Day.

Today, A4E joined policymakers in Brussels during a high-level conference on tourism, highlighting the importance of the tourism industry which accounts for some 10% of GDP and jobs in Europe. This year, more than 1 billion air passengers are expected in Europe. 

“A4E supports the first priority of the European Commission which is boosting jobs, growth and investment. Therefore, European policymakers need to support initiatives leading to more travel, more investment, more trade and ultimately increased jobs and growth. This can be reached through a better reliability of air navigation services and a minimisation of  the impact of Air Traffic Control (ATC) strikes or an abolition of aviation taxes. Especially parts of Southern Europe affected by youth unemployment would benefit from lowering the cost of air access which would boost tourism and economic activity generally, with a direct positive spill-over on job creation, ” said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director of A4E.

Another field of action enfolds around a reform of the Airport Charges Directive (ACD) to ensure proper economic regulation and to allow for regulation for the real bottlenecks, i.e. airports with market power. In June, A4E called on the European Commission to boost the competitiveness of Europe’s airports through an urgent ACD revision.

“Today, airport charges represent up to 20% of an airline’s operational cost. Various studies revealed that airport charges have nearly doubled over the last 10 years, while net fares dropped by 20% in the same period. The current ACD failed to deliver meaningful consultation and effective transparency in the setting of charges. Now, the European Commission needs to move quickly to help reducing excessive charges and create better market conditions for passengers and the tourism sector,” concluded Reynaert.

Note to Editors:

During the 2010-16 period, there were 217 ATC strike days in the EU – one disrupted day every nine days. In total, there were 278 disrupted days if you take into account the days before and after an ATC strike as flights had to be cancelled in advance and accumulated delays spilt over to the next day. Since 2010 the overall impact of ATC strikes have cost €12 billion to the EU economy, associated with more than 140,000 jobs. The majority of the economic impact (60%) of ATC strikes is felt through reduced tourism spending. PwC suggests the overall impact through this channel over the past seven years amounts to around €7 billion.

About A4E:

Airlines for Europe (A4E) is Europe’s largest airline association, based in Brussels. Launched in January 2016, the association consists of Aegean, airBaltic, Air France KLM, Cargolux, easyJet, Finnair, Icelandair, International Airlines Group (IAG),, Lufthansa Group, Norwegian, Ryanair, TAP Portugal, Travel Service and Volotea, and plans to grow further. With more than 550 million passengers on board each year, A4E members account for more than 70 per cent of the continent’s journeys, operating more than 2,700 airplanes and generating more than EUR 100 billion in annual turnover.