Air France-KLM join rivals in call to lower fares, bust monopolies
Air France-KLM joined the group of the five largest European airlines to lay out regulatory demands to the European Union. The airlines presented their demands as a part of a shared vision for a new EU aviation strategy. The CEOs of Air France-KLM, EasyJet, Lufthansa, International Airlines Group and Ryanair want Brussels to develop a simple and efficient regulatory strategy that would improve competitiveness of European airlines and ensure their growth. They also want authorities to tackle the costs of EU airport fees by more effectively regulating monopoly airports. The group wants "monopoly airports", such as Schiphol, to share their profits from commercial activities with airlines to reduce costs associated with flights, and ultimately airfares. "Airports are monopolists," said Carolyn McCall, CEO of EasyJet. "[The European Commission] should regulate airport charges. The costs are too high and out of control." Companies emphasize the importance of reducing air traffic control costs. They would like to ensure that ATC strikes do not disrupt passenger movement across Europe. Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said that more than 3,000 European flights were cancelled this year due to ATC strikes in Europe, which affected 600,000 passengers. The airlines want the EU to stimulate economic activity and jobs by removing passenger taxes and "unreasonable" environmental taxes. The airline executives argue this could create hundreds of thousands of jobs at a time of high youth unemployment and stimulate European GDP. They also agree that airline representation in Brussels is not as effective as it could be, with six organizations representing interests of airlines. Bosses of the five companies agreed to explore different forms of future representation.