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Cuma, 14 Haziran 2024

Europe’s airports and Kallas discuss industry challenges


This year’s customary January meeting[1] meeting between the Board of ACI EUROPE and the EU Commissioner for Transport took place at the trade body’s headquarters in Brussels today. 
        Today’s meeting – scheduled since November 2010 – focused on a thorough review and exchange on the challenges facing Europe’s airports after a tumultuous 2010. The airspace shutdown during the volcanic ash shock, repeated industrial action by airlines and air traffic controllers and exceptionally harsh winter conditions all contributed to make 2010 a very difficult year – following 18 months of stark recession. 
        State of the Industry 


The recovery from the economic and financial crisis has been slow and uneven, with some airports enjoying a return to positive traffic trends, while many are still reporting negative figures. The crisis saw significant restructuring at European airports, with a strong focus on improving their competitive position – reducing costs and offering attractive charges and incentives to airlines, while still maintaining investments in future capacity and further improving service quality. These actions are part and parcel of airports’ response to the ongoing consolidation within the airline industry, which is having a profound effect on the balance of power in the airport-airline relationship. Furthermore, they are also reflective of the fundamental shift taking place in the global aviation market, with the rise of the Middle East/Asia and Latin-America as major aviation powers. 
        With the EC White paper on the Future of Transport currently in development, the Board of ACI EUROPE urged Vice President Kallas to recognise the indispensable role that aviation plays in European mobility and to develop a genuine industrial policy for aviation at EU level. Airport CEOs denounced the impact of aviation taxes emphasising how these taxes are actually hurting the European economy. 
        Ad Rutten, ACI EUROPE President and COO of Schiphol Group said “If European aviation is to remain relevant, it needs two things. First, do not add costs, but actively seek to reduce them, promoting greater efficiency, in particular in relation to security. Second, create new business opportunities through aviation liberalisation with neighbouring countries across the Mediterranean and to the East, as well as the BRIC countries.” 
         He added “More than that, if the European economy is to maintain its place in the world, if the Single European Sky is to become a meaningful reality and if increased operational flexibility is to counter the effects of extreme weather, the issue of the looming airport capacity crunch needs to be addressed urgently. Demand for air transport in Europe will nearly double by 2030 – the European Commission needs to do more to highlight what is at stake to national governments.” 
          Aviation Security 


Regarding the imminent April deadline[2] of Phase 1 of the EU’s plans to lift the ban on liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs), airport CEOs reiterated their strong concerns at the over-ambitious nature of this timeline. While airport CEOs support the withdrawal of the existing restrictions, the trade body warned Vice President Kallas that the available technology (tests recently organised by ECAC[3]) is unfit for purpose, threatening existing security levels and passenger service. Airports CEOs once again offered their full cooperation in resolving this issue.
        Winter Operations 


Airport CEOs also took the opportunity to respond to the Vice President’s remarks (of 21 December) regarding winter operations at airports. They reported on their extensive planning for weather disruptions and passenger assistance as an integral part of any airport management system. The truly exceptional winter conditions which affected some parts of Europe last December – with many historic records broken as regards snowfall and temperatures – tested aviation and other transport modes alike. Throughout the difficulties, Europe’s airports ensured that over 85% of air traffic was unaffected. Passenger safety was upheld at all times and no accidents occurred despite extremely challenging operating conditions. The Board of ACI EUROPE stressed the need for effective cooperation on the ground between all actors and asked the Commissioner that airports be empowered by EU law to set minimum service and quality requirements for ground handlers. This would also complement the efficient delivery of the Single European Sky.   
        The Board of ACI EUROPE thanked Vice President Kallas for his support of Airport Carbon Accreditation, the carbon standard and certification programme for airports, developed by ACI EUROPE. With the recent accreditations of Budapest Airport, Chisinau Airport and Hamburg Airport, Airport Carbon Accreditation now comprises 32 airports in 16 countries, accounting for more than 35% of European passenger traffic[4].   
         Airports CEOs also highlighted the need for aviation policy at European level to unambiguously reconcile the growth of aviation with the EU’s own ambitious environmental agenda.
        [1] EU Commissioners for Transport have been invited and have attended the January meeting of the Board of ACI EUROPE almost every year since 1997.
        [2] the EU has adopted a plan to lift the existing ban on the carriage of Liquids, Aerosols and Gels (LAGs) in two phases. Phase 1, from April 2011 lifts the ban for non-EU originating passengers carrying LAGs obtained at a third country airport or on board an aircraft of a non-Community air carrier on condition that the LAG is packed in a security tamper evident bag (STEB) and satisfactory proof of purchase within the preceding 36 hours is displayed. Phase 2 from April 2013 lifts the ban for all passengers and removes the need for LAGs to be in STEBs.
        [3] European Civil Aviation Conference (
        [4] Visit for the latest information and a full listing of accredited airports.

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