White Paper Criticised

The Board of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) criticised the new European Commission White Paper for Transport at a meeting in Luxembourg on June 9, 2011.
The ERA says the Paper has missed the opportunity for setting a clear vision for the future of air transport in Europe and lacks the innovative, free market policies needed to achieve it.
Board members expressed significant concerns on several aspects of the Paper, including “failure to recognise ongoing environmental improvements made by air transport.”  The Paper was also accused of continuing to ignore the massive subsidies applied to rail, while promoting principles of “fair competition” and “user pays” to all modes.  The ERA felt that the document advocated a “deliberate” market manipulation towards rail.
However, the ERA Board welcomed some aspects of the White Paper, including its recognition that deregulation was largely responsible for today’s highly competitive and efficient air transport industry, and that there is the need for a “level playing field” for and between competing modes of transport.
ERA Director General, Mike Ambrose, comments:  “The inconsistent and contradictory arguments that litter this Paper show that opposing forces are at work which the Commission must address before developing any future transport policies.
“ERA believes that the adoption of free market principles of consumer choice and fair competition across and within modes of transport is possible.
“However, progress can only be achieved by using a partnership approach that involves industry at every step of the decision-making process,” he says.