Gamba calls on decision makers to recognise business aviation


2012 a pivotal year for European business aviation

Fabio Gamba, the European
Business Aviation Association chief executive called upon the decision makers
to recognise the business aviation community.

Business aviation faces many
challenges, and with a host of new EU legislation, the business aviation industry
expects more to come. So now is the time to be proactive. This was the message
during the European Business Aviation Association’s (EBAA) Annual General
Meeting held in Brussels
recently at Eurocontrol headquarters.

Gamba emphasised, European
decision-makers must recognise the 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
current form, and other important initiatives in domains such as ground
handling, noise, and Community Guidelines on State aids at regional airports.

“We fully expect to take up
our responsibilities as respected members of the European airspace community,”
said Rodolfo Baviera, EBAA chairman. “But we are also working with legislators
and regulators to ensure that the measures put in place help boost the European
economy, not weaken it.”

“We may be facing headwinds,
but that means we must push harder against them. We must demonstrate the
significance of our industry and we must use our expertise and influence to
assist politicians and regulators as they weather the global crisis,” Fabio
Gamba, EBAA chief executive said.

Business aviation is
therefore taking important proactive steps. One initiative is the creation of
an International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH). It is
mirrored on the sector’s successful International Standard for Business
Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO), 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 2M 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,” explained Brian Humphries, EBAA president.
“We will conduct our own quality and safety assessments of Fixed Base Operators
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. It aims to discourage
the operation of aircraft without a valid Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) or
which are non-compliant with traffic rights. EBAA has published guidance for
operators, brokers, passengers, politicians, authorities and regulators.
Additionally, it was a recent guest presenter at the European Commission where
it won the commitment of national inspectors and EASA to work together to
devise solutions to prevent and repress illegal flights.

“Twenty-twelve is a pivotal
year for our industry. There are many tough choices to make and challenges to
face,” Fabio concluded, “and we – the
collective we of industry and government – must do so sensibly
and wisely.”