EBACE Convention News

EC air transport director vows more proportionate bizav rules

 - May 20, 2008, 10:05 AM

The European Commission’s director for air transport, Daniel Calleja, pledged more “proportionate” rules for business aviation in the future, acknowledging that this segment of air transport has “too often been neglected in the past.” Here at EBACE during yesterday’s opening session, other speakers included EBAA CEO Eric Mandemaker, who insisted on the association’s participation in the environmental debate, and his U.S. counterpart, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen, who made a strong statement about how the U.S. “should get its house in order” in terms of access from abroad.

“The EC is this year launching key initiatives to make aviation more efficient, safer and environmentally sustainable,” Calleja said. He recognized the importance of general and business aviation. “Almost one fifth of Eurocontrol aircraft movements and two thirds of EASA type certificates are for general or business aviation,” he pointed out. However, he did not break down the general aviation figures into segments.

The EC thinks aviation needs “better,” as opposed to more, regulation, Calleja asserted. He promised the EC will make sure future safety regulations apply to business aircraft in a proportionate way. He also insisted the EC is well aware of the capacity crunch air transport is facing. Sesar, the second package in the implementation of the single European sky, will be a breakthrough, he claimed. “It will improve access for business aviation, but the capacity situation will not improve dramatically overnight,” he added.

Another challenge Calleja sees concerns the international nature of the industry. “We want a level playing field,” he said, a sentiment Bolen also expressed.
Said the NBAA president, “The U.S. requires a 10-day notice for business flights from Europe. Yet, when we [Americans] face similar requirements in emerging countries, we find it unacceptable. We need to get our house in order.”

From a more technical point of view, Calleja said the European Union and the U.S. are working together to ensure Sesar and NextGen, the two future air traffic management (ATM) structures, will be interoperable. An open skies agreement has recently come to life and further negotiations are ongoing.

A new ATM and significant investment in aeronautical research–under the CleanSky joint technology initiative–are the first two measures in the EC’s response to the need for environmental sustainability. But there is no silver bullet against the fact that aviation is the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions, Calleja maintained. Hence the need for an economic solution–the inclusion of the industry in the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), Calleja concluded.

Mandemaker thanked the EC for stating officially that general and business aviation provides economical and social benefits, and he emphasized  the need for EBAA to “fully participate in the environmental debate.” Otherwise, there is a serious threat of “bureaucratic quagmire,” he said. Such a predicament could have a major negative effect on small/medium enterprises, which account for the majority of Europe’s 800 business aircraft operators, Mandemaker said.