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A4E Cargo CEOs Ask EU Leaders for Greater Support in First-Ever Policy Manifesto

By  Brussels, — Last updated on 15 November 2023
  • Airline transformation efforts in sustainability, efficiency and digitalisation need political backing

Europe’s leading air cargo CEOs today unveiled a set of key policy asks for the new EU mandate through 2024. The first-ever A4E Air Cargo Policy Manifesto outlines specific ways in which EU policymakers can support air cargo carriers in their drive towards a more efficient, sustainable and digitized air transport of the future. It calls for further harmonisation among Member States when implementing EU rules on security and customs practices; more ambitious joint efforts to digitalise the entire logistics chain as well as support for innovation projects and increased sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production.

Speaking at A4E’s Air Cargo: Europe’s Bridge to the Global Economy event in Brussels, Lufthansa Cargo CEO Peter Gerber said, “To ensure air cargo’s continuous, sustainable growth over the next decades, joint efforts are needed to preserve and enhance the competitiveness of the sector for the benefit of European consumers and businesses alike. This includes the development of a regulatory framework which focuses on seamless and efficient EU trade with the rest of the world — prioritising security, customs and digitalisation initiatives”.

The majority of A4E members have air cargo and mail activities. Due to fierce international competition, European air cargo companies are proactively leveraging efficiency potentials through innovative projects in order to foster greater sustainability. However, such measures often require high investments on the part of airlines and therefore urgent political backing, e.g. through further development of the EU regulatory framework. Although representing 2.6% of trade volumes, European air cargo accounts for nearly 30% of exports and 21% of imports in terms of value,Eurostat, 2018: making it a crucial enabler of economic activity throughout the continent and beyond.

“Given its high operational and infrastructure costs, commitment from EU leaders to the air cargo sector is increasingly important to streamline complex EU regulations and implement them at a national level”, said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director, Airlines for Europe (A4E). “Policymakers can also make a lasting contribution to carriers’ transformation efforts by enabling funding for digitalisation and innovation projects, as well as incentivizing SAF use. Our members look forward to contributing to the sustainable growth of the sector by working hand-in-hand with the European institutions in the coming years”, Reynaert added.

About A4E Cargo Airlines

The air cargo business, through its entire value chain, is an essential part of European prosperity as it enables global trade. A4E members with air cargo and mail activities transport more than 5 million tons of goods each year to more than 360 destinations in over 120 countries either by freighters, combi aircraft, or in the bellies of passenger aircraft. By facilitating the fast, reliable and secure movement of goods across borders, air cargo sustains seamless supply chains and contributes to the development of economic networks which no other form of transport can provide. Industry globalisation and growing consumer demand for air cargo services put Europe at the intersection of global trade, with the value of goods transported via air exceeding €5.6 trillion ($6.2 trillion) in 2018, globally.IATA, air cargo figures