The International Air Transport Association (IATA) considers that in order to fully exploit the possibilities in the Eastern Europe in what the aviation is concerned, the countries should embrace innovation and recommended governments to create partnerships with industry stakeholders.
“Aviation connectivity can play a key role in the economic success of Eastern Europe. But in order to achieve these benefits, the region will need to tackle some long-standing problems which hamper competitiveness and innovation,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO during the opening of the Aviation Day in Bucharest.
Tyler identified three major areas where such partnerships and innovation are required: environment, passengers’ rights, and transportation. In what the environment is concerned, Tyler mentioned the increase in the carbon-print, but also that airlines are set to be more eco-friendly. Use of biofuels was one of the main solutions for a long-term program with visible effects in reducing the carbon-print.
“At our Annual General Meeting (AGM) in June, member airlines agreed a resolution supporting mandatory carbon offsetting as a single MBM to be implemented globally with due consideration for the special circumstances of some airlines. Now it is up to governments. When they meet later this month at the 38th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), they will have a golden opportunity to agree a global approach to MBMs. Eastern European governments can play a key role by keeping focused on reaching a successful conclusion on global measures. If an agreement is not reached, and individual regions go their own way, then the threat of a trade war will loom again,” said Tyler.
Speaking about the passengers’ rights, Tyler said that it is important for airlines to get people at their destinations on time. He also mentioned that governments have to protect consumers’ rights, in a form of simple guarantees and through a glovally coordinated effort.
“The competition faced by airlines, not just between themselves, but with other transport modes like rail, means that airlines have every incentive to keep their customers happy. They won’t stay in business otherwise. Moreover the increasing micro-management of the industry from regulators is stifling innovation and creating unintended consequences,” explained Tyler.
The infrastructure is one of the most sensitive issues, as the European airspace is not unified, which leads to important general costs.
Air connectivity will lead to important benefits for all the states, therefore efforts should be made in this direction. IATA urges governments to take the proper measurements that will lead to better connectivity and benefits for passengers and companies alike.
“Experience shows us that aviation prospers most strongly when it is free of government interference. The issue is not ownership, but freedom of strategy. The full-service carriers in Eastern Europe are facing a significant challenge from new competitors, and they will need to adapt their business models to survive. They will not be able to do so if they are held back by their owners. Governments need to understand that their role is not to micro-manage the business, but to exercise strategic vision,” he said.