2 December 2009
Mr Siim Kallas
Commissioner for Administrative Affairs, Audit and Anti-Fraud
B-1049 Brussels - Belgium
Dear Commissioner Kallas,
We the undersigned travel industry representatives write to congratulate you on your nomination for European Commissioner for Transport. In looking across all of President Barroso’s selections, he unquestionably succeeded in balancing long and critical experience with fresh perspectives as well as the diverse interests of all stakeholders. We urge you to set a commercial aviation agenda which likewise balances the interests of stakeholders in this vital sector, and to support proposals for a high-level Stakeholder Summit to which we would gladly contribute.
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 prospects 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.
In recognition of the airline industry crisis, the U.S. Department of Transportation on 12 November conducted a one-day stakeholder forum and is now forming a Federal Advisory Committee on the Future of Aviation to identify threshold-problems and to build stakeholder-consensus around solutions and action. 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. What’s more, such 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.
We believe a productive Stakeholder Summit should include a corporate travel manager group, a consumer group, a travel agency association, global distribution system representatives, labor, no-frills airlines, major network airlines, representatives from mid-size and large airports and economists. Its objectives should be to reduce current difficulties for all aviation sector stakeholders, work on solutions, increase performance, preserve and create quality jobs and secure social rights for employees. In order to establish a level-playing field, regulation of the labor market is needed and the harmonization of the highest working conditions is required.
We hope that you will urgently support the convening of a Stakeholder Summit so that we can stabilize the industry and return it to financial sustainability.
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
Business Travel Coalition
Also on behalf of:
MH-Global Communications Network
Ulimited Travel Solutions, Inc.
Mr José Manuel Durão Barroso, President, European Commission