European Business Aviation Association
BAN's World GazetteerBelgium
As we approach the 10th EBACE, we decided to look back over the last ten years to chart the evolution of business aviation in Europe and see what we in the Associations have achieved, both in raising the profile and recognised value of the sector and in supporting our operators. It is a good story!
Throughout the 1990s, business aircraft numbers in Europe hovered around the 2,000 mark. However by 2007, BusAv was the fastest growing sector after the low cost carriers, and today the fleet numbers an amazing 3,900 aircraft with activity levels representing seven per cent of IFR traffic. Not only that, but our value to the EU is increasingly recognised by the Commission, the Parliament and the Council as providing "...tailored, flexible, door-to-door transportation for individuals, enterprises and local communities, increasing the mobility of people, productivity of business and regional cohesion."
Our value was also starkly by the PriceWaterhouseCoopers' report published in early 2009 showing that even discounting user benefits, we contributed €19.7billion in annual gross value to the European economy in 2007; 0.2 per cent of combined GDP (of the EU, Norway and Switzerland); 164,000 jobs; and combined annual wages and salaries of €5.7 billion.
Eurocontrol continues to provide updated reports on our sector and, as a result of all this recognition, the EU Parliament and Council have each published resolutions on business and general aviation, recognising for the first time that our needs have to be taken into account in airport and airspace capacity planning.
At a practical level to help our members, a new dialogue has been opened up between US and EU officials to improve access by EU operators to the US. This has been facilitated by the US/European partnership in EBACE, which is now well established as the premiere event in Europe, having grown from a show with only 3,700 attendees when it opened in 2001 to hosting over 13,000 in 2008. Even last year in the depth of the recession we enjoyed our third biggest show.
Furthermore, after three years of hard work with the Commission, we have new derogated security rules for our sector, recognising that our security needs are different from the airlines and require a security framework tailored to our sector. We are also active within SESAR, ensuring that the air traffic management structure of the future will properly reflect our equipment and operational capabilities, allowing these to be exploited safely and efficiently to improve our utility to customers and minimising our impact on the environment. Here, regular readers will know we continue to fight hard to make the EU-ETS application to our sector both more effective and less bureaucratic, while emphasising our excellent environmental performance and our continuing commitment to minimising our impact on the environment. However in EU-ETS there is still a very long way to go!
We have continued to develop IS-BAO so that commercial operators can now just obtain an SMS, rather than the whole package, and we have arranged training courses and work-shops to underwrite this. Recently we have launched an Emergency Response Planning Guidance Manual, which will greatly facilitate what has always been a daunting task for small operators, who comprise the bulk of our membership (available at www.ebaa.org).
So after an exciting 10 years it is worth looking back and recognising that, despite all that has been thrown at us, business aviation in Europe has had a remarkable first decade in the new millennium and can look forward confidently to the next.
By Brian Humphries, EBAA president