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A regular opinion piece from ERA Director General Simon McNamara, featured in ERA magazine Regional International, May/June 2017 issue

A positive start to 2017 

As the mid-point of the year rapidly approaches, it is easy to wonder where half of the year has gone. 2017 has certainly brought change – a new administration in the US which is having an effect on European politics and business through currency markets as well as security policy. In Europe, Brexit is now fully underway with all the complexity that needs to be solved to allow aviation to continue to thrive in the wider European area. The final outcome of the French elections is still unknown and the UK General Election in June and the German election in September may bring even more change. There is no doubt that politics will continue to shape the way our business operates, as will regulation, and ERA will remain at the forefront of defending and protecting its members. 

Our events 
At ERA, during the first six months of the year we have completed our first round of specialist groups on safety, operations and industry affairs, providing members with opportunities to network, learn and drive the policy of the association. We have also recently held our Regional Airline Conference in Copenhagen where we welcomed a record number of attendees, indicating a healthy level of positivity and strength out there in the business. 
In this issue of our magazine, you will see a special focus on ACMI, which is just one of the growing areas where our airline members are filling gaps and stepping up to offer a product that Europe needs as the big incumbent airlines become slower to move. 

Optimistic outlook 
Despite the politics, the business remains in good shape. Year-on-­year, for the first quarter of 2017, our members grew seat capacity by four per cent, driven by the introduction of larger, newer, aircraft. This, coupled with the fact that the economic outlook across Europe remains positive, means that I’m optimistic that the second half of the year will be as good as the first.