The Aviation Strategy

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised a public hearing on the Aviation Strategy of the European Commission. Various stakeholders were invited by the EESC to give their opinion. The strategy is aimed at job creation and economic growth in the European aviation industry. Since the draft on the strategy was rather vague and only mentioned competition and social conditions, but did not elaborate on concrete measures, EurECCA’s president and general secretary, Annette Groeneveld and Christoph Drescher, attended the meeting to find out more.

On behalf of the employees in aviation the statement was made that for the mobile workers this strategy does not provide any future. The strategy is solely based on customer satisfaction and commercial needs. It does not address any of the concerns EurECCA has on the position of the European cabin crew. Nothing on a-typical employment, the definition of home base or the fact that mobile workers like cabin crew are less protected than other workers in Europe.

Customer focus
Apart from this the European Commission has urged the USA to reconsider her denial to allow Norwegian International to operate on the routes between the USA and Europe using the open skies agreement between Europe and the USA. The USA has now stated that they might give in. That means that Norwegian can add capacity for very low prices to the already struggling trans-Atlantic routes without having to abide by European labor laws. The fact that the Commission stays in favour of this deal that does not create European jobs and undermines the competitiveness of European carriers, is a sign that the Transport Commissioner only focuses on customers and commercial gain.

In response to questions, the commissioner made it very clear that she thinks the airline industry in Europe must become more efficient to survive and that she does not see a role for herself to crack down on the state funded competition from outside the EU. The mandate to re-negotiate aviation deals with the Gulf region is still pending, so by the time that has been organised it might well be too late. At the end of her speech she stated that if we want her to step in on the social issues, she needed concrete cases of social dumping. On June 2nd the Commissioner meets the members of the Social Dialogue. EurECCA will provide her with some concrete cases of social dumping by that time.