Airline associations call for more realism

26 November 2003

BRUSSELS - The heads of nine airline associations representing a broad spectrum of the global aviation industry, have issued a call for a more equitable approach by regulators and governments to the industry, and greater oversight of monopoly service providers.

A meeting in Brussels this month was chaired by Richard Stirland, the director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), who said that the associations were increasingly concerned about a growing array of regulations, which threatened the viability of even the most efficient carriers.

"These regulations all have a cost attached to them, sometimes severe; they are often of dubious benefit to the traveling public, and worst of all, they apply uniquely to aviation, not other modes of transport."

Stirland said the situation arose due to a lack of consultation with the industry prior to directives being issued; a lack of cost-benefit analysis; a lack of transparency in the regulatory process and a lack of public awareness.

"This simply must change," he said. "The reality is that we are a global industry.

Regulations imposed in one region affect all airlines serving that region."

A second major issue of concern was that of costs imposed on airlines by unregulated or poorly regulated monopoly service providers such as airports and air traffic control.

"Where those entities have been privatised, profit margins irrespective of market reality are virtually guaranteed; where they are government agencies, gross inefficiencies are masked by high charges and regular increases," said Stirland.

The airline association heads had resolved to increase co-operation in order to bring the meassage home to governments and the public, he said.

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