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ATN interview Daniel Calleja, Director Air Transport Directorate - European Commission

Air Transport News 19 Nov.08

ATN: How is the aviation industry in Europe going to contribute in fight against climate change?

DC: We think that to fight against climate change we need a global approach, a comprehensive approach. This has to be done in several ways. First of all we need to develop more research, to have better aircraft and I think is very important the aircrafts of the industry to produce less emissions and to be more efficient. Second, is the air traffic management. The Single European Sky and the SESAR program are going to be very important; and our cooperation with Eurocontrol. Third, we also propose an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which is a market based measure so that airlines can also contribute.

ATN: Some airlines insist that the ETS is a punitive measure for them.

DC: We donít agree. We think that ETS is a market based measure which allows aviationís growth because it can offset the emissions in aviation with other sectors. I think there has been some concern about discussions in European Parliament but we are still expecting the final decision. The voting has not finished yet and I think at the end of the day it should be possible to have a balance about ETS which allows aviation to contribute and which is not punitive.

ATN: When the Single European Sky is going to be implemented actually?

DC: We have proposed a second package measures to achieve Single European Sky by 2012. We think that to do this in 2012 we need to have functional airspace blocks and place and focus on the system of performance. We also built the system on technology in the SESAR program and we also think that the extension of safety competence to European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for airports and Air Transport Management (ATM) will be a very important element to ensure the best performance system to ATM in Europe fully integrated technologically and with the highest safety standards.

ATN: How important is Open Skies Agreement for Aviation in Europe?

DC: Very important. I think it is a historic agreement. We have succeeded in liberalizing nearly 60% of air traffic and more than that. It created a lot of jobs, new opportunities and new routes. But it is also a model for the rest of the world to continue liberalizing aviation. A model allowing aviation to be like any normal industry and allows its development without boundaries.

ATN: So it will have a positive effect to airlines, airports andÖ

DC: It will have positive effect for airlines. We have already seen that. New airlines have been created and open skiesí airlines are going to start from Paris to New York. They will benefit because they will be able to have access to new markets. Any European airline from any E.U. member state may fly in any point in the U.S.A. It will also be positive for passengers because it offers new possibilities, new opportunities, greater competition, which means better prices. It will create jobs and to be more specific, we think that it will be 80.000 jobs.

ATN: But still there is no possibility for a U.S. airline to come and travel within Europe

DC: Well, we are going to address in the second stage of negotiations the possibility to have greater market access. For example, the European carriers to have access to the American market, because this was not achieved before. We will be willing also to have access of American carriers within a single country. But this is a subject of second stage main issues. We hope that before 2010 we can complete this second stage.

ATN: What are the priorities of European Union regarding Aviation?

DC: We have three main objectives. We want a strong and competitive aviation sector. With the highest safety standards and which developed in a sustainable way. Competitiveness, safety and sustainability are the three main objectives of E.U.

ATN: What is your vision about Aviation in the near future?

DC: I think aviation needs to continue playing a vital role for the society, for the citizens. Ensuring mobility, being a deep success, being a source of economic development and for that we need to pursuit the open markets by closing co operations between countries and by promoting closing regulatory cooperation; because aviation is global and E.Uís favor global approach. We are also willing to take a leadership role and to help these global solutions.

ATN: How do you think that it can overcome the difficulties like the high oil prices and airport capacity?

DC: These are big challenges. We have seen a very sharp increase in oil prices. This will require difficult decisions in terms of adjustment. But I am confident that the E.U. aviation industry will be successfully meet the challenges and it is truth that aviation is exposed to external shocks like we had oil crisis, September 11th, SARS; but the industry has always been able to recover and come with positive development to continue being a very important engine of growth and of mobility and we need a very good aviation industry because this is vital for the economy.

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