At the EBAA’s AGM, held in Brussels on 15 March, members were updated on the many tasks and issues being tackled by the association in the past year and the coming year ahead.
The key message coming from the board was clear: the time has come for the industry to be more proactive and share information in order to successfully tackle the many challenges facing business aviation.
Fabio Gamba, EBAA CEO stated that European decision-makers must recognise the circumstances of aviation and that business aviation in particular is trying to make a healthy recovery after the difficult years.
The issue of the proliferation of national taxes, the EU ETS situation and the obstacles in the way of creating a Single European Sky, were some key topics. Members were also given an update on the recast of the slots regulation that deprives business aviation of historical rights under current form.
“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,” stated Fabio Gamba, EBAA CEO.
One proactive initiative highlighted at the meeting was 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 discussed 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.”