A4A loses a member & A4E is created in Europe; changes due to the Gulf

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The European Aviation trade associations were as balkanized as the current Balkans are and were. There was Association of European Airlines (AEA) and then an expanded European Low Fares Airline Association (ALFAA). The carriers withdrew and joined these groups as fluidly as one holding an EU passport traverses all of the European borders.

Now Air France KLM, Lufthansa Group, International Airlines Group (IAG) [Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling] and low-cost carriers easyJet and Ryanair form the originally named Airlines for Europe (A4E) [no website yet]. The new association represents the airlines carrying 50% of the passengers within the EU. Its director is the former head of the United Technologies office in Europe, Thomas Reynaert. One of his early tasks will be to sign up more members.

a4a a4e aviation europe

The woman in the middle is European transport commissioner Violeta Bulc; the others are the new A4E members.

The organization issued the following statement on its founding:

Today marks the beginning of a new era for European airlines. With the endorsement of the five largest airline groups in Europe, A4E will be a powerful vehicle to address the industry’s issues. For the first time, low-cost and network carriers are creating an association to support the adoption of a new European Aviation Strategy. Today we also call on all airlines in Europe to join us and make our voice even more powerful.”

Some of this musical chairs movement was attributed to the stresses created by the competition (if that is an acceptable term) from the Gulf Carriers, reminiscent of Delta’s departure from A4A. Like the US situation, there were divides about whether the threat was illegal or acceptable.

The as-of-yet unwritten charter will avoid the Gulf issue and focus on issues with which all the air carriers agree. The A4E is directed at airports, Eurocontrol’s inefficiencies and the undue burdens imposed by governments. This becomes the association’s top three issues:

  • Lowering the cost of the EU’s airports.
  • Delivering reliable and efficient airspace.
  • Stimulating more economic activity and jobs by creating the right regulatory environment, removing unreasonable taxes.

This marriage seems to have evolved from the European Aviation Summit at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. There these carriers voiced their unanimous support of the European Commission’s recently released “Aviation Strategy for Europe.” This marketing campaign’s goal is “to bolster the continent’s €110 billion aviation sector” by negotiating new international relationships with other countries. The target of this sales effort is new “air transport agreements, revising safety regulations and investing in new technology.”

The A4E agenda sounds remarkably like A4A’s. The A4E list, maybe because it is still preliminary, does not mention safety!

{Anyone who has spent a lot of time at ICAO and most international meetings may have also wondered how Air France allowed the association’s initials to be solely in English. The middle “number” 4 represents the English “for”; usually the Gaullists are chauvinistic about their mother tongue and they would usually insist/demand a French version with their linguistic equivalent to “for” which is “pour.” One would guess that “APE” would be “affreux”.}


ARTICLE: Europe’s Largest Airline Groups Form Their Own Association
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