In the framework of this opinion a hearing (European Aviation Relief Programme) was organized in brussels, on 26 October 2009.
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Gist of opinion
The fleets in service still have a relatively high average age (which impacts airlines' results); a structured dismantling sector therefore needs to be set up.
The Value Chain (airports, aircraft manufacturers, kerosene providers, ground handlers, air navigation service providers, airlines) should be subject to the effects of the economic cycles and competition pressures as the whole.
Commission should initiate all procedures in order to facilitate and implement a waiver of the 80:20 slot utilisation rule for the winter season 09/10.
Public authorities should help vulnerable companies to retain their skills and jobs, by, for example, improving access to vocational training during periods of downturn.
This kind of coordinated support from public authorities (the EU, States, regions, etc.) is crucial to dealing with the effects of the crisis.
The European Investment Bank ought to revert back to its pre-2007 policy when European carriers were able to benefit from credits; this reverting back must be quick and be specifically targeted at the financing of new aircraft. This would be not to finance a fleet expansion.
It would also be appropriate to provide for mechanisms to cover financial risks, such as those arising from fluctuating exchange rates (cf. paragraph 4.6 of CCMI/047). This could also take the form of loan guarantees based on refundable advances or EIB (European Investment Bank) loans.
Additional financing for research and development in aviation industry is to be provided in order to enable the sector to meet future challenges including EU ETS requirements.
Given the innovative and strategic importance of the aeronautics industry for Europe's industrial and technological base, strong support for R&D (jeopardised by the crisis) could be obtained through sustained efforts by the EU, from the implementation phase of the 7th FPRD and throughout the future 8th FPRD.
The Single European Sky II package has to be implemented urgently. Fragmentation of the airspace in Europe causes an additional heavy burden not only to the passengers but also to the carriers.
All Member States must be urged to accelerate the implementation of the Airport Charges Directive.
The Commission shall issue a communication to Member States and EUROCONTROL to introduce a moratorium in the ATC charges.
Consultation between ANSPs and airlines required under the terms of charging Regulation No 1794/2006 has to be enforced by European institutions.
It must be guaranteed that EASA deals exclusively with security issues.
More international aviation agreements are needed between EU and third countries to provide an international level playing field.