In association with the European Cockpit Association (ECA) and further pilot associations which are members of this, the Association Luxembourgeoise des Pilotes de Ligne (ALPL) has announced that it has joined the coalition for fair competition in aviation “Europeans for a Fair Competition” (E4FC). This coalition is dedicated to restoring fair conditions for European aviation, which is competing with the state-funded airlines of the Gulf region.
In the past decade, the state-funded airlines of the United Arab Emirates and the emirate Qatar have massively expanded their capacity on routes, which were previously served by European airlines. The problem with this expansion is that these airlines, which are largely state-owned, are supported by state aid and benefit from access to cheaper (airport) infrastructure, fuel and capital. These practices, which are distorting the market, are disadvantageous not only for the European aviation industry but also damage the EU economy in general.
“The same rules should apply to everyone,” says airline captain and ALPL President Darrell Myers. However, a recently published study shows that the big airlines of the Persian Gulf have received €39 billion in aid from their governments in the past ten years. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that these financially strong airlines can easily finance their aggressive and damaging growth strategies. What is alarming, though, is that this is happening at the expense of European aviation and its employees, which are subject to very strict rules concerning aid and competition and which do not have access to unlimited financial means. Europe most act now to end this unfair competitive advantage and to secure the future of European aviation and its employees.”
“Europeans for a Fair Competition” aims to raise awareness of the necessity of fair competition, end the state subventions of the Gulf airlines and disclose which airlines are violating international trade and competition regulations.
“The presented figures show that 600 jobs are lost for every flight route previously served by a European airline which is cancelled due to the aggressive expansion of the three big Gulf airlines,” says Dirk Becker ALPL General Secretary. “This involves a real threat which won’t stop at Luxemburg and threatens the airlines of the grand duchy as the most recent reports on the expansion of the activities of Qatar Airways at Luxemburg airport show. It is happening now and we have to act now.”