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Poor regulation key to airlines’ financial woes

Poor regulation key to airlines' financial woesThe European Commission is not adhering to its own principles of good governance to the detriment of Europe’s airlines and the communities they serve

Airlines can no longer financially sustain the impact of poor regulation emanating from the European Commission (EC) and other European regulatory bodies.  Speaking at the 1st European Air Transport Regulation Forum in Florence, Italy today, director general of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), Mike Ambrose, criticised regulatory bodies for not applying their own best practice rules when proposing or amending legislation, leading to ambiguous and confusing legislation which creates unnecessary costs for airlines and benefits neither the airline nor the passenger.

“The result is a plethora of ineffective regulations that are not fit for purpose,” said Ambrose.  “Furthermore, there is no monitoring process in place to ensure that regulations are being enforced or to withdraw regulations that are ineffective.”

The issue would appear to be getting worse, with the recent Accident Investigation Regulation being a prime example where no consultation with stakeholders took place.  “This Regulation was developed behind closed doors, effectively barring the input of industry knowledge and expertise at every stage of the process,” said Ambrose.  “To have the right to legislate is not to be right.  Too often, the knowledge and expertise within air transport is ignored, resulting in flawed legislation that creates more problems than solutions.”

He continued: “the better regulation principles are simple and easy to apply – they reflect normal business practice and are based on common sense.  Regulators quite rightly expect air transport to operate as safe and efficient businesses.  Conversely, air transport should be able to reasonably expect its Regulators to adhere to these same business principles.”

ERA has developed the ‘Seven Steps Guide to Better Regulation’, based on the EC’s own excellent principles of good governance.  Both the Guide and Mike Ambrose’s presentation can be downloaded from the ERA website.

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