Advocacy Organization Calls For A Proactive Posture
Business aviation faces many challenges, and with a host of new EU legislation, the industry expects more to come. So now is the time to be proactive. That was the message during the European Business Aviation Association’s (EBAA) Annual General Meeting held Thursday in Brussels at Eurocontrol headquarters.
EBAA CEO Fabio Gamba (pictured) told the group that European decision-makers must recognize the circumstances of aviation. Business aviation in particular is trying to make a healthy recovery after the difficult years following the worldwide economic crisis. It does so, however, in the face of new political hurdles and rising operating costs. These include a worrying proliferation of national taxes, a burdensome EU ETS, a faulty Single European Sky due to the lack of Member States’ political will, a recast of the slots regulation that deprives business aviation of historical rights under current form, and other important initiatives in domains such as ground handling, noise, and Community Guidelines on State aids at regional airports.
“We fully expect to take up our responsibilities as respected members of the European airspace community,” said Rodolfo Baviera, EBAA Chairman. “But we are also working with legislators and regulators to ensure that the measures put in place help boost the European economy, not weaken it.”
“We may be facing headwinds, but that means we must push harder against them. We must demonstrate the significance of our industry. And we must use our expertise and influence to assist politicians and regulators as they weather the global crisis,” said Gamba.
Business aviation is therefore taking important proactive steps. One initiative is the creation of an International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH). It is mirrored on the sector’s successful International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO), which is a recognised European Standard and has over 500 operators registered globally as being in compliance. “The EU’s Ground Handling Regulation recast did not include airports of less than 2M passengers, which is primarily the types of airport from which business aviation operates. Therefore we have anticipated the needs of our industry and developed up-to-date standards that are also aligned with the regulations,” explained Brian Humphries (pictured), EBAA President. “We will conduct our own quality and safety assessments of Fixed Base Operators and ground handling against this standard, enhancing both safety and the customer experience to the benefit of all.”
Another important initiative includes business aviation's campaign to curtail illegal charter flight activity within Europe. It aims to discourage the operation of aircraft without a valid Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) or which are non-compliant with traffic rights. EBAA has published guidance for operators, brokers, passengers, politicians, authorities and regulators. Additionally, it was a recent guest presenter at the European Commission where it won the commitment of national inspectors and EASA to work together to devise solutions to prevent and repress illegal flights.
“Twenty-twelve is a pivotal year for our industry. There are many tough choices to make and challenges to face,” Gamba concluded, “and we – the collective we of industry and government – must do so sensibly and wisely.”