EurECCA, the European Cabin Crew Association, representing more than 35000 cabin crews in Europe, joins, Europeans for Fair Competition“ (E4FC). This coalition of different stakeholders from the airline industry advocates for restoring a level playing field in competition between European Airlines and Gulf carriers.
The European airline industry has undergone a dramatic change in the past ten years or so. New players, mainly from the so-called Gulf countries, e.g. Emirates, Etihad from the UAE and Qatar Airways from Qatar have built up immense capacity to bring passenger traffic to the three airports and from there, as the incoming market is relatively small, connect them with the rest of the world (hub-system).
Although this being not a new phenomenon, as the main European carriers operate mainly under the same business model, there is a fundamental difference:
Gulf carriers are state-sponsored as the airline industry serves as a fundamental strategical asset to develop a certain role in world business and politics. This strategic decision leads to state support, cheap airport infrastructure, a joint airline/airport strategy and cheap access to fuel and capital.
This aims directly to the European aviation industry, as substantial traffic growth is not happening any longer in Europe. In Europe, airlines and their employees pay the prize. The price- dumping to sell the ongoing growing capacity leads to growing pressure on the financial situation of the European airlines. Through this, the situation of aviation employees is hardening immensely.
E4FC aims to raise awareness of this unfair competition throughout the European institutions and the European public in general. There is a surprising lack of interest among European governments and the EU institutions to where this current development may lead.
Annette Groeneveld, President of EurECCA says: “Fair Competition is very important for the airline industry and the customers. The European Commission needs only to enforce the same standards on third country carriers as she enforces on European carriers. Looking away will eventually lead to loss of jobs and loss of connectivity in Europe.”
“Europeans airline employees are delivering a high safety, security and service standard which surely competes with other airlines. But employees cannot compete with strategic decisions made by governments”, adds Christoph Drescher, General Secretary of EurECCA.