The European Union must recognise the importance to the community of business and general aviation, and take action to ensure that it can operate without unnecessary infrastructural and regulatory restrictions, according to a report adopted by the European Parliament's committee on transport and tourism.
The report is entitled "an agenda for sustainable future in general and business aviation". President of the European Business Aviation Association Brian Humphries says: "The report is actually very good stuff, especially in respect of the recognition it gives to the importance of the sector. Its recommendations on the importance of developing appropriate security rules and other proportionate regulation is welcome, and its focus on the critical importance of fair and equitable access for both fixed- and rotary-wing business aviation to small and medium-size regional airports is overdue. Well done the parliament."
One of the report's sponsors, member of the European parliament Timothy Kirkhope, says: "The EU's general and business aviation industry does not compare with the USA's successes because of our muddled rules. We need to ensure a more competitive aircraft manufacturing industry to give businesses and smaller operators the opportunities to provide services to local businesses, and to encourage more people to take up flying for leisure."
Humphries says the association has been pressing for just such recognition, especially to ensure that security and other regulation that was designed specifically for the mass public transport sector should not be applied without appropriate modification to an industry that moves much smaller numbers of people.
The airport access issue is vital, Humphries says, because one of the primary benefits GA delivers to businesses is the ability to fly into and out of airfields local to the companies involved. He points out that the arrival of low-cost carriers at regional airports could drive out GA operators entirely unless the importance of what they provide is recognised at government policymaking level.
British Business and General Aviation Association chief executive Guy Lachlan welcomes the report, but wants to see the proposal become action. He says: "Now we must look back to the European Commission and member states for follow up action and a positive progress report back to the parliament at the end of the year, as the members of the European Parliament have requested."