The chief executive officers of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, British Airways owner IAG SA, Easyjet Plc and Ryanair Holdings Plc rattled off a list of familiar requests at the gathering of the Airlines for Europe industry lobby in Brussels. It’s the first such meeting since March 2020, the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic — a crisis which shook aviation but has now been superseded by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The demands, all raised before, include more government support for so-called sustainable aviation fuel, the industry’s controversial Corsia carbon-offset scheme, and an overhaul of rules on air-traffic control to save on fuel costs and reduce emissions.
Action on the wish-list will serve the higher purpose of keeping the cost of flying affordable, and is vital to enhancing competitiveness as the war in Russia and resulting spike in energy costs expose Europe’s vulnerability to outside forces, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said.
“As Europeans, we’re not able to defend ourselves anymore, we’re not able to provide our own energy anymore,” he said on a panel. “Lets at least make sure we can connect ourselves.”
Air-traffic control has caused 90% of the delays at Ryanair in the past 12 months, CEO Michael O’Leary said. “We cannot at a time when oil prices are at record highs continue to waste fuel.”
O’Leary has estimated that the Single European Sky project, which would reform complex air traffic control systems, would by itself cuts carbon emissions by 10%.