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ERA Industry Affairs Group meets in Brussels

The first IAG meeting of this year was held on 4–5 February in ERA’s Brussels office and addressed all the hot topics around European regulatory affairs that the group will focus on in 2019.

The first day, hosted by Pierstone, started with an update on Brexit developments presented by Montserrat Barriga, Director General of ERA, complemented by IATA figures on how the capacity cap proposed by the European Commission for a no-deal scenario would affect the evolution of this year’s seat numbers. The Director General also pointed out the fact that the association published its first communication on this key issue in 2016 and has been lobbying at all possible fora since then.

The topic evoking the greatest attention during the first day was clearly the update on regulation EU261. During this session Giulia Mauri from Pierstone first gave an overview about all significant decisions of the European Court of Justice taken in 2018, driving the important consequence that all rulings favoured the passengers. Afterwards, participants had the chance to learn about the planned steps regarding the revision of this important EU regulation from a first-hand source. DG MOVE provided the information that the European Commission has launched a fact-finding study conducted by Steer, expected to be ready by autumn this year. In co-operation with its members, ERA will be actively engaged in feeding inputs to this study once the stakeholder consultation is launched by the consultant. IAG members were informed that the Commission also intends to update the guidelines on PRMs this year. Given the importance of the topic, collective redress was again discussed. IATA addressed the initial objectives of the European Commission, the latest development at the level of the Council and the European Parliament, as well as the next steps in terms of advocacy. During the closing session of the first day delegates have learned about the role of mediation in litigation also from Pierstone.

The IAG meeting continued on the second day at the new ERA premises at EUROCONTROL. First, leaders of Aviation Policy Unit of DG MOVE highlighted the very complex and also uncertain political nature of year 2019 with electing a new European Parliament and College of Commissioners. Guest speakers representing the Commission also stressed that all the important aviation files are under revision (1008/2008, PSOs, EU 261, ACD, social dialogue). The following agenda block focussed on environmental issues: EUROCONTROL experts presented on how the Agency supports airline operators on ETS and CORSIA and on the facilitation of environmental and operational performance of airports through a collaborative approach called CEM (Collaborative Environmental Management).

Afterwards, participants had the pleasure to listen to the introductory words of Gerry O’Connell, the new chairman of the Industry Consultation Body appointed for a four-year term. Finally, members agreed on the top five priorities the Group is going to focus on during this year: Brexit, EU261, PSOs, CORSIA vs EU ETS and ACD/slot regulation. The two-day meeting was closed by a tour of EUROCONTROL operational facilities.  

Members can download the meeting materials here: https://www.eraa.org/policy/era-groups/industry-affairs