22 JUNE 2015
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Setting aside major differences, the leaders of Europe’s five largest airlines publicly got together at Brussels last week to urge the European Union to do more to lower airport costs and taxes. Alexandre de Juniac (Air France-KLM), Michael O'Leary (Ryanair), Carolyn McCall (easyJet), Carsten Spohr (Lufthansa) and Willie Walsh (IAG) offered a united front. A lobby group is being set up.
The airlines urged the European Commission – the EU executive – to lower security and airport charges, remove passenger and "unreasonable" environmental taxes and ensure that air traffic control strikes do not happen.
"It's a historic day for European aviation because it's the first time the five of us have met together," said Michael O'Leary at a press briefing which was also telecast.
Violeta Bulc, the new EU Transport Commissioner, is due to unveil a series of measures later this year to boost what it terms is “the competitiveness of the aviation sector.”
The airlines have not always seen eye to eye, with IAG the owner of British Airways and Iberia leaving the Association of European Airlines (AEA) and joining the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) over differences in attitudes toward competition from Gulf carriers. (See BTN 27 April). easyJet and Ryanair are not members of the major airline trade association IATA.
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