The five largest airline groups in Europe have formed a new lobbying group, called Airlines for Europe, in an effort to combat growing airport charges amid tough competition from their Middle Eastern subsidised counterparts such as Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways.
For the first time, the lobbying group has representations from legacy carriers as well as budget airlines.
Putting aside their differences, giants including Lufthansa, Air France-KLM and the International Airline Group, which is the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, and Iberia, formed this alliance, reported The Telegraph.
At its launch at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport, the new alliance stated that it will "represent the interests of its members when dealing with the EU institutions, international organisations and national governments on European aviation issues."
The new trade body’s first call to European aviation authorities was on taking immediate steps to stop EU passengers from "fleeced by excessive airport charges". It also urged for eliminating "unreasonable taxes".
In support of their case, the group highlighted a study of consultancy firm Aviation Economics, which indicated that take-off and landing costs in Europe’s 21 major airports had gone up by 80% in the last ten years, while fares grew only by 20% on an average, reported The Telegraph.
The highest passenger airport fees are in the UK, Germany and Switzerland.
In the past, the region’s airlines have not been able to successful in lobbying on issues ranging from environmental regulations to passenger refunds when flights get delayed.
Air France-KLM chief executive Alexandre de Juniac was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying: "This shows a failure of regulation."
In 2015, an older lobbying group broke due to differences on policy matters. The new trade body will operate with a limited mandate.
The new European group is a parallel the US trade body, which is called Airlines for America.
Image: Take-off and landing costs in Europe’s major airports had reportedly gone up by 80% in the last ten years. Photo: Courtesy by Potowizard/freedigitalphotos.net.