European cabin crew join E4FC in calls for level playing pitch with Gulf airlines

An organisation of more than 35,000 cabin crew, including Irish workers, has joined calls on Brussels to impose EU standards on Gulf carriers operating in Europe.

The European Cabin Crew Association (Eurecca) said on Tuesday that it has joined Europeans for Fair Competition (E4FC) a new organisation campaigning for level playing pitch between EU airlines and the state-owned Gulf carriers, EmiratesEtihad and Qatar Airways.

Eurecca’s move follows last week’s announcement by the European Cockpit Association, which represents the continent’s pilots, that it has joined the coalition.

It wants the European Commission to impose the same standards on third country carriers, including those from the Gulf, as it imposes on EU airlines, which would bar the middle eastern states from subsidising their airlines.

The two organisations’ say that the Gulf carriers have collectively benefitted from €39 billion in state subsidies, including cheap fuel and airport charges, giving them an advantage over European airlines, which are bound by EU rules banning state aid.

This has allowed them to boost capacity cheaply and take over routes formerly flown by European carriers. Eurecca, whose members include Irish trade union Impact, says that each route lost in this way costs 600 jobs in Europe.

Eurecca president Annette Groenveld argued on Tuesday that fair competition was important for the airline industry and its customers.

“The European Commission needs only to enforce the same standards on third-country carriers as it imposes on European carriers,” she said.

“Looking away will eventually lead to loss of jobs and loss of connectivity in Europe.”

Published on Irish Times.