During his year-long chairmanship, Bernard Gustin will act on behalf of AEA’s 35 airline members which contribute €86 billion to the European economy. He will chair the association’s board and represent AEA in high-level political meetings.
“Europe is bracing itself for a turbulent 2012, therefore it is more critical than ever to have a competitive and thriving European airline industry,” said Mr Gustin. “AEA’s members want to fuel the economic recovery. To achieve this, aviation must not be used as a regulatory playground, or as an austerity cash-cow.
“Our focus for the coming 12 months will be on removing inefficiency from the system and driving external costs down. As a key priority, we urgently need Member States to deliver on their Single European Sky promises.”
But as we enter 2012, the political focus is sadly dominated by tensions over aviation’s inclusion in the EU ETS – not on the launch of landmark Single European Sky reforms which will slash emissions by 12%, reduce delay times and cut airline operating costs.
“The ETS debate is like a volcano. When the tensions erupt, it is going to be extremely damaging for European air travel. A globally acceptable solution and a shift of focus from politics back to the environment is an absolute must for 2012,” said Mr Gustin.
Mr Gustin succeeds Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Steve Ridgway, who expertly steered the association’s work during 2011.