The four pillars of the Association of European Airlines' long-term vision for European aviation, dubbed “Flightpath 2019”, are central to this year’s discussions as members gather in Istanbul for the 2014 AEA Aviation Leadership Summit.

Following the success of last year’s kick-off event in Brussels, where the new-look AEA was unveiled with Athar Husain Khan at the helm, the association is getting down to the serious business of working to shape Europe’s future airline landscape. And the Flightpath 2019 policy document, essentially the association’s wishlist for the evolution of the industry, provides an ideal framework for discussions here at the second AEA Aviation Leadership Summit on the banks of the Bosphorus.

The document calls for the development of smart regulation to reduce the current burdens imposed on European airlines (some of which can have unintended consequences), to establish a level playing field with regards to state support and introduce the adoption of a holistic approach to the industry’s supply chain.

With another round of consolidation on the cards, Europe’s regulators must look at ways to further facilitate liberalisation of the industry. And they must take a more global view of the industry to ensure that the Gulf carriers don’t capitalise on growth in Europe to the detriment of the local carriers.

The summit offers a packed agenda with an impressive speaker line-up to help move the debates forward. Our host in Istanbul, AEA president Temel Kotil, runs one of the industry’s fastest growing and innovative carriers. And he has strong views about modernising Europe’s airport access: “To be a big player, [24h operation] is a must,” he says. “Otherwise hub-and-spoke doesn’t work.”

Other speakers include IATA’s Paul Steele, Nicholas Calio who is chief executive of Airlines for America and Joao Machado, director general of the European Union mobility and transport commission, while recently appointed Lufthansa group chief executive Carsten Spohr heads an impressive list of several AEA member-airline bosses on the various panels.

And Husain Khan’s message to Europe’s regulators from this year’s summit is simple: “The aviation industry is a key enabler of European prosperity, it’s a key enabler for jobs and economic growth.”

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Source: Flight Daily News