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EU Commission adopts new Aviation Strategy

This week, the European Commission has been making headlines; Monday’s Talking Point discussed the rules concerning foreign ownership of European airlines while today we examine the Commission’s new Aviation Strategy.

Yesterday (December 7), the European Commission released a statement about a new strategy that is will adopt in an attempt to “boost Europe’s economy, strengthen its industrial base and reinforce its global leadership position”.

The commission has described the aforementioned points as the ‘three core priorities’ of president, Jean-Claude Juncker. Overall the policy will work towards keeping the European aviation sector competitive while ensuring that it benefits from the fast paced and ever changing global economy. This particular initiative also forms part of the wider Commission Work Programme for 2015.

Commenting on the new Aviation Strategy, EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "European aviation is facing a number of challenges and today's Strategy sets out a comprehensive and ambitious action-plan to keep the sector ahead of the curve.

It will keep European companies competitive, through new investment and business opportunities, allowing them to grow in a sustainable manner. European citizens will also benefit from more choice, cheaper prices and the highest levels of safety and security."

The statement issued by the commission highlighted the following as its main priorities:

•    Place the EU as a leading player in international aviation

The statement stressed that the EU’s aviation sector needs to “tap into the new growth markets” and it can do this by forming external aviation agreements with other key regions of the world. Through adopting this particular strategy, the industry will benefit from improved access to the market, new business opportunities and transparent market conditions. Plus, by solidifying relationships with other countries passengers will also be able to benefit from the policy through improved prices and better connectivity.

•    Tackle limits to growth in the air and on ground

The EU Commission’s statement also listed capacity, efficiency and connectivity constraints as key challenges for the growth of the European aviation market. Thus the strategy stresses “the importance of completing the Single European Sky project, optimising the use of our busiest airports, and monitoring intra-EU and extra-EU connectivity to identify shortcomings”.

•    Make progress on innovation, digital technologies and investments

Focused on innovation and technology, this point emphasised the important role that they both play in a diverse and growing market. The Commission said: “appropriate investments into technology and innovation will secure Europe’s leading role in international aviation”, naming drones as one of the technologies that Europe must heavily invest in.

•    Maintain high EU standards

This goal may appear to state the obvious, however maintaining high EU standards for safety and security is without doubt hugely important, as is tackling environmental and social issues and passenger rights. The Commission’s Aviation Strategy addressed all of these points and went onto propose an update of the EU’s safety rules, which would result in a high level of safety being maintained. This is something that is especially important as global air traffic is expected to surge to phenomenal heights within the next 20 years.  

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