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A4E Manifesto: The Future of Air Travel in Europe


The 2019–2024 term of the European Parliament and the European Commission will be decisive in shaping the future of air travel in Europe.

The single market in aviation serves as one of the major achievements of the European Union. It has provided citizens with unprecedented choice and affordable fares. Aviation strengthens ties between citizens, businesses, and governments across borders — and facilitates European integration: the free movement of people and goods. The sustainable growth of aviation, which continues to contribute to the socioeconomic development of European nations is one of the industry’s most important objectives. After five years of limited progress, bold political decisions are now needed to help European aviation meet these objectives for the wider benefit of the European community. The temptation to pursue quick fixes or immediate political gains at the expense of meaningful, long term policies must be resisted.

With growing concerns across Europe about mobility, connectivity and sustainability, A4E calls on decision makers in Brussels and across European capitals to make aviation policy a critical priority for the next five years. Bottlenecks, inefficiencies and gaps in the existing regulatory framework urgently need to be addressed.

Wishful thinking will not increase the efficiency of the EU’s airspace or ensure that travellers do not see their plans unpredictably disrupted. Wishful thinking will not enable the more than 2 billion passengers that are projected to be flying in Europe in 2040 to benefit from efficient and cost-related air services.

In order to achieve this:

  • The EU must ensure that Member States take measures to minimise the impact of disruptions to the movement of people and goods across Europe, both in the air or on the ground
  • Governments must urgently take concrete action to realise the principles of a seamless European sky for their citizens, allowing the EU to finally implement the Single European Sky initiative
  • Member States, without losing sight of long-term, sustainable solutions, must implement immediately the European Commission’s recommended mitigation practices put forward in 2017 to address strikes from air traffic controllers
  • The EU must steer clear of quick fixes to pressing and complex environmental challenges — focusing instead on helping air transport reduce dependency on fossil fuel by supporting research and development initiatives
  • The EU must ensure that ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) will be the only CO2 tackling measure applicable to emissions from international flights within Europe as of 2021
  • The EU must protect consumers by ensuring that aviation does not become a cash-cow for national governments and monopoly providers
  • The EU must revise Regulation 261/2004 in order to establish a clear, proportionate and stable legal framework on air passenger rights — third parties should not be allowed to profit on the backs of passengers
  • The EU must revise the 2009 Airport Charges Directive to ensure that monopoly airports stop driving up the cost of flying in Europe, and start focusing on their customers rather than on their shareholders

The safe, efficient and sustainable movement of passengers and goods throughout the region is in the shared interest of all Europeans. A4E is committed to working constructively with all stakeholders in Brussels and in the EU’s Member States to deliver on an ambitious vision for the aviation industry that allows passengers and businesses to benefit from sustainable and competitive air travel.