No End in Sight to Airline Crisis As Latest Figures Show No Signs of Recovery
- AEA calls for stakeholder summit to create conditions necessary for recovery
The call comes as latest traffic figures emerging from AEA show no sign of improvement. Even compared to a depressed baseline in late 2008, this year's figures remain locked-in to a trend line about 2% below last year's already dismal figures. The traffic decline pales into insignificance, however, compared to the price effects of the seriously depressed market; latest yield figures show that the average ticket price per kilometre of travel has fallen by more than 15%.
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Said AEA Secretary General Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus: "The foundations for a sustainable European air transport sector are crumbling. Portions of our industry are close to collapse - indeed, we have seen failures among premium carriers, leisure carriers, no-frills and cargo airlines. Some network airlines are ceasing to exist as independent entities. Others are exiting markets that they will not re-enter. Secondary markets are losing service. Tens of thousands of people employed by or sustained by the airlines are losing their jobs".
The policy-makers had a choice, said Mr Schulte-Strathaus: watch a weakened and traumatised industry struggle to rebuild within existing constraints, or take proactive steps to construct a regulatory framework within which a return to prosperity could be expedited, and European air transport re-establish itself as a powerful global force. "The US are a step ahead of us in grasping the severity of the crisis", he said. "Their government has already hosted a stakeholder forum and is setting up a Federal Advisory Committee to discuss the future of the industry".
Turning to the latest traffic figures, Mr Schulte-Strathaus said: "The AEA airlines, collectively, have failed to make a profit in the summer, leaving them ill-prepared to face what will be a heavily unprofitable winter. Decision-makers must realise that a key European resource is under threat and steps must be taken - now - to act positively and decisively to create the conditions under which prosperity can be restored as quickly as possible. I invite the European Commission to follow the example of their US counterparts and put in place a structured dialogue with stakeholders, to create the policy which will safeguard the benefits that aviation brings to Europe's citizens and businesses".
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Source : Association of European Airlines