- First, while the Persian Gulf Carriers have increased their capacities to and from the EU by an average of 112 %, the European airlines have decreased theirs by 14 %.
- Second, while the total long-haul aircraft order in the EU together is 205 aircraft, with a value of 63,5 billion Dollars, these three airlines – Emirates, Etihad & Qatar – alone have 604 aircraft on order, with a value of 212,9 billion Dollars. This is three times as much as Europe. Three times!
- Third, while the European airlines had hardly any growth in capacity on long haul in the past ten years, the Persian Gulf carriers have now above five times more capacity than what they had 2005.
- And finally, while the operation of one additional widebody aircraft – for example in France – creates 300 direct and 500 indirect jobs, the same aircraft at the Persian Gulf would create only 50 direct and 150 indirect jobs in Europe. Hence, any route lost to a Gulf carrier de facto kills jobs in Europe.
- It means a strong negotiating mandate focussed on fair competition, while in the meantime further traffic rights should be frozen.
- The mandate would have to condition the adoption of an agreement to obtaining strong and specific chapters on financial transparency, state aid, environment, human rights and labour protections.
- We need a robust and ‘effective-in-reality’ Social Clause
Shouldn’t we rather focus on sharpening our trade defence instruments, such as the EU Regulation 868/2004 on unfair subsidies from 3rd country carriers? It is a shame that the revision of this Regulation is not part of the Aviation Package, and we very much hope a concrete legislative proposal will be tabled very soon.Finally, when it comes to Gulf carrier investments in European carriers: are these just Trojan Horses, aiming at pushing additional capacity into the European market? One thing is clear: Europe’s already very liberal rules on foreign Ownership & Control must not be relaxed – not even on a reciprocal and bilateral basis. Instead, they must be further strengthened to ensure that the ‘effective control’ of an EU airline is firmly in EU hands, rather than in foreign hands. Ladies and gentlemen let me stop here! One thing is clear: no single industry can compete without a level playing field. And this is where we need Your help. Thank you!
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