On 6 March, the European Policy Centre in Brussels held an event supported by The Boeing Company, on aviation as a contributor to growth and competitiveness. European Commissioner Siim Kallas was a featured speaker and discussed the economic benefits of aviation in Europe: “It is hard to overstate the importance of aviation in today’s globalised environment. By bringing the citizens of the world together, it creates prosperity and jobs.”
The global connectivity fostered by aviation results in higher levels of productivity and investment, he added. Europe has capitalised on this favorable trend by progressively moving toward a single aviation market. But Kallas noted some headwinds in global aviation trends for European carriers. “If we do not act and adapt quickly to stay at the forefront of world aviation, then in a few years’ time it may be too late,” he explained. To remain globally competitive in aviation would require progress on the Single European Sky and other congestion-reducing measures, he said.
“The Single Sky project needs to succeed and be implemented — as soon as possible. It will allow us to shorten flights, reduce delays and emissions, and save about 3 billion euros each year, out of a total annual cost of 8 billion euros,” Kallas said.
“Progress here has been less than hoped — but I believe that we can still do this,” he added. “That’s why I proposed SES 2+ with some changes to speed up implementation, because this project is too important to be allowed to fail. Our air traffic management systems should be as cutting-edge and optimised as possible, which is what we are working towards.”
Boeing’s President for EU and NATO Relations Antonio De Palmas, also addressed the conference, speaking on the urgency of re-balancing Europe’s aviation regulatory framework in particular focusing on the necessity to reconcile aviation with its true economic nature and to balance the environmental dimension with stimulatory policies and safety. He also called on the new European institutions to set a new positive agenda for change and growth, which also reconciles policies with technology.