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Positive growth follows a second difficult year for intra-European airlines

2.5% passenger growth for Europe’s regionals

The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) which represents some 70 intra-European airlines, has recorded an average 2.5% scheduled passenger growth for its reporting members in 2010, and the highest passenger load factor on record of 66.2%, indicating cautious recovery and a managed response to a second tough year.

A record number of delegates have gathered in Malta for the Association’s annual spring regional airline conference. Memories of last year’s event in Edinburgh are still fresh in people’s minds. It coincided with the Icelandic volcano eruption and major operational disruption. The unlimited liability imposed on airlines by the wholly inept Regulation 261/2004 lead, in turn, to a massive financial burden for many carriers.

“These figures, and particularly our highest ever passenger load factor of 66.2%, are encouraging. They demonstrate the resilience and flexibility of intra-European airlines to respond swiftly and strategically to changing markets,” said ERA director general, Mike Ambrose. “However, while demand may be gradually recovering, yield remains low and European air transport recovery lags behind the rest of the world. The current situation strongly underlines the need for the policies advocated by Commissioner Kallas in the Bruges Declaration (that additional burdens, eg taxes on aviation) should be rigorously applied if European carriers are to remain internationally competitive.”

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