December 2 - A United Travel Industry Calls for an EU Aviation Stakeholder Summit

Brussels, Belgium, 2 December 2009--Business Travel Coalition (BTC) today transmitted a signatory letter on behalf of the travel industry to European Commission Commissioner Siim Kallas, President Barroso’s nominee to be the next European Commissioner for Transport, urging him to organize an airline industry Stakeholder Summit in early 2010. Signatories represent consumers, corporate travel departments, airlines, labor and travel management companies. (The letter can be downloaded here.)

It is rare that the travel & aviation industry presents such a united front. Signatories included the International Airline Passengers Association, Association of European Airlines, European Transport Workers' Federation, Institute of Travel & Meetings, Belgium Association of Travel Management, Advantage Focus Partnership (UK), Finnish Business Travel Association, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division, Travel Management Alliance and BTC.

The group wrote to Commissioner Kallas, “The crisis gripping the airline industry is without precedent in the history of commercial aviation. We are deeply concerned about this perilous financial state of affairs and the loss of jobs and connectivity of mid-size communities to important European and global business centers. All opportunities to ease current and proposed regulatory burdens and to increase efficiency for European airlines must be reviewed with the greatest sense of urgency. A socially and ecologically sustainable civil aviation industry should be an important goal for Europe.”

Given the decision by U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood to form a Federal Advisory Committee on the Future of Aviation, we believe stakeholders in North America and Europe would benefit if Washington and Brussels conducted parallel problem-solving processes as airline alliances, among other interlinked commercial aviation elements, have necessitated a harmonized approach to regulatory regimes,” stated BTC Chairman Kevin Mitchell. “What’s more, a corresponding process would provide the opportunity for the exchange of best practices with respect to including all stakeholders’ interests in smart air transportation policy development and regulatory oversight,” added Mitchell.

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