IATA warns of gloomy future for European aviation economy

IATAThe International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that the European economy may lose about one million jobs and EUR245 billion in 2035, if the inefficiencies observed in the management of its airspace are not quickly and properly addressed.

In a report, IATA stated that Europe is well served by air connectivity, which it says today supports 11.7 million European jobs and $860 billion of European GDP. But in its view, this is not sufficient, more has to be done.

According to the report, average flights is about 50 kilometers longer than what it is supposed to be which leads to a delay of an average of 10 minutes per flight. This inefficiency it says negatively impacts prosperity, productivity and sustainability.

An IATA-commissioned study by SEO Economic Research estimated that these inefficiencies, if unchecked, will grow to cost the European economy EUR 245 billion in 2035.

The Director-General and CEO of IATA, Tony Tyler said air traffic management inefficiency is not just a burden for airlines, but also to travellers who lose huge time due to delays.

“The environment suffers from avoidable emissions. And businesses face reduced productivity. Combined, all of this has a cost on Europe’s competitiveness. And the cost is shared broadly. This study shows that every European; individual or business; has a stake in this issue.”

Europe has long had a plan to improve its air traffic management; the Single European Sky (SES) project; which aims to deliver a threefold increase in capacity, improve safety by a factor of 10, reduce environmental impact by 10 per cent, and cut costs by 50 per cent.

“Europe has failed in achieving the SES goals. Despite a strong European Commission vision and push for SES, national interests have prevailed. The incentive to improve efficiency is to make Europe more prosperous with the realization of EUR 245 billion and one million jobs in 2035.

The launch of this study is a call to action across the spectrum of business and individual interests in Europe to help deliver a stronger, more connected economy,” said Tyler.

“Predicting the future is always fraught with uncertainty. But the starting point already shows a clear gap. The U.S. has one provider to manage its airspace and Europe has 38 providers to manage a similarly complex air transport sector. And if nothing is done, the problem will only get worse,” said Tyler.

The release of the study marks the launch of a Europe-wide campaign. IATA will be calling on consumer groups and business associations to recognize the broad importance of efficient air connectivity to the economy, productivity and quality of life at the national level

“Quantifying the value of what we are aiming for in jobs and GDP should be a great motivator in aligning national policies and action with a vision for an efficiently-connected and competitive Europe. EUR 245 billion is a worthy goal!”, he said.

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