A4E summit addresses aviation’s hot topics

Airline CEOs and politicians gathered in Brussels to discuss socio-economic, regulatory and environmental issues

Airlines 4 Europe (A4E) members recently gathered in Brussels for the association’s fourth annual summit to discuss the aviation industry’s most pressing issues. The event kicked off with a VIP and CEO dinner on Tuesday, 3rd March, followed by a full day of panel discussions and debates on Wednesday, 4th March.

A number of important topics were discussed, such as making the aviation industry sustainable for the future and incorporating more integrated European policymaking, as well as addressing where the single aviation market falls short.


Corona virus concerns

“Concern around the impact of the new corona virus, COVID19, dominated much of the debate,” explained Eric Plantaz, Inmarsat Aviation’s Regional Vice President for Europe, who attended the event. “The panel shared their different views on how much of an impact they believed the virus would have on the industry, delving into whether the virus would have a comparable effect to the terrorist events of 9/11 or SARs in 2013.”

The panel also discussed the potential outcome of the appeal to the European regulators to suspend slot rules, as many airlines fear they will be stripped of their lucrative take-off and landing slots if they cancel flights due to the drop in demand to travel, as new cases of COVID19 emerge across Europe. Concern was also expressed about the detrimental effect on airlines already in a fragile position.

The topics of sustainability and greener aviation were also addressed, as the panel looked at how decarbonisation is going to come about, as it increasingly becomes a priority. Examples discussed were sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and the electric or hybrid aircraft currently in development through a partnership between EasyJet and Airbus. 

You can watch a video of the CEO debate below, with more videos from the event available here: https://a4e.eu/press/


What exactly is A4E?

In 2016, CEOs from five key European airlines came together to form a single voice for aviation’s most important issues in Brussels, creating A4E. The founding airline members were Air France-KLM, easyJet, IAG, Lufthansa Group and Ryanair. They wanted to define a clear long-term vision for aviation in Europe and create bold policies that would benefit consumers and airlines, delving into issues such as how the single European market should operate to maximise benefits for airlines and consumers, taxation and system ability.

Today, A4E is made up of 16 leading airline group members and they represent over 70% of European air traffic. A4E counts the following airlines as members: Aegean, airBaltic, Air France-KLM, Cargolux, easyJet, Finnair, Icelandair, International Airlines Group (IAG), Jet2.com, Lufthansa Group, Norwegian, Ryanair, Smartwings, TAP Air Portugal, TUI and Volotea. Membership also goes beyond airlines, to include global manufacturers such as Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, GE, and Thales.

Outside of A4E members, the summit is attended by members of the European Parliament and EU Commission, who can provide valuable insight into EU objectives and policy making.


Inmarsat Aviation and Deutsche Telekom as sponsors

Inmarsat and its partner Deutsche Telekom were proud to be a silver sponsor of the event for the third consecutive year. David Fox, Vice President Inflight and Connectivity Services at Deutsche Telekom, joined Inmarsat’s Plantaz at the summit. He explained that the event provides a unique opportunity to meet with CEOs and senior execs from the most successful airlines in Europe. “The summit gives us the opportunity to interact with business leaders in an invaluable and rare way, helping us to talk about the unique and compelling benefits of the service in person,” concluded Fox.