European Business Aviation Association
BAN's World GazetteerBelgium
Business aviation faces many challenges, and with a host of new EU legislation and more to come, now is the time to be proactive. This was the message delivered during the European Business Aviation Association's annual general meeting recently.
Chief executive Fabio Gamba urged European decision-makers to recognise the particular circumstances of aviation. Business aviation in particular is trying to make a healthy recovery after the difficult years following the worldwide economic crisis.
It does so, however, in the face of new political hurdles and rising operating costs. These include a worrying proliferation of national taxes, a burdensome EU ETS, a faulty Single European Sky due to the lack of member states' political will, a recast of the slots regulation that deprives business aviation of historical rights under its current form, and other important initiatives in domains such as ground handling, noise, and community guidelines on state aid at regional airports, he says.
"We may be facing headwinds, but that means we must push harder against them. We must demonstrate the significance of our industry," says Gamba.
One initiative is the creation of an International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH). It is mirrored on the IS-BAO operations equivalent, which is a recognised European standard and has over 500 operators registered globally as being in compliance. "The EU's Ground Handling Regulation recast did not include airports of less than two million passengers, which is primarily the types of airport from which business aviation operates. Therefore we have anticipated the needs of our industry and developed up-to-date standards that are also aligned with the regulations," explains Brian Humphries, EBAA president.
"We will conduct our own quality and safety assessments of FBOs and ground handling against this standard, enhancing both safety and the customer experience to the benefit of all."
Another important initiative includes business aviation's campaign to curtail illegal charter flight activity within Europe.
"Twenty-twelve is a pivotal year for our industry. There are many tough choices to make and challenges to face," Gamba concludes.