A new European Commission study published on 8 December 2004 demonstrates how in 2002 alone, European airlines and airports paid out a massive EUR 3 billion for additional anti-terrorist security measures imposed by European governments. In response, Europe's aviation industry leaders have issued a joint statement.
"Terrorist action is aimed at governments and not the airline industry. The terrorist threat therefore requires a united front from the aviation industry and their governments, with a comprehensive and responsible funding policy. The Commission study is a wake up call for policy makers regarding the major differences between EU Member States as to how aviation security is financed. The European aviation industry does not seek State aid, but merely the transfer of a clear public responsibility back into the hands of governments.The extensive study: "Civil Aviation Security Financing" illustrates that while European governments have been extremely active in setting up a comprehensive anti-terrorist framework after 9/11, they have failed to move to the next step and finance these necessary preventative measures. In sharp contrast, the study reveals that the US government has provided an estimated USD 32 billion financial aid to the US aviation industry over the same period. This clearly demonstrates that the US Administration has understood its responsibility for protecting society, both in the air and on the ground, against terrorist acts.
The Commission study is clearly a "snapshot" of the costs/revenues situation at a certain point in time. However, with new security measures each year and the decision of more and more Member States to delegate their security functions to the private sector, costs have continued to increase strongly since 2002, with an impact on the air transport industry and its employees.
The study also highlights the alarming differences in policy towards civil aviation security funding within Europe as well as the distinct lack of government support. While civil aviation security is successfully being harmonised in the European Union, which the industry welcomes, a disjointed approach towards its funding is creating distortions of competition which adds to the distortion with non-EU countries like the United States.
Transportation of passengers, cargo and mail, by land, sea and air, forms a basic necessity for economies all over the world. Additional cost burdens weaken the air transport industry and inevitably impact fare levels. Neither air travellers nor the aviation industry should be expected to pay entirely for measures intended for the protection of society against terrorist acts. The European air transport industry, represented by the five trade associations listed above, encourages the European Commission to propose urgent recommendations on this important issue, and urges Ministers of the EU Member States to take a responsible decision on such recommendations.
Download the joint industry Press Release