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“A missed opportunity for aviation” – ACI Europe Director General delivers his reading of the recent Letta Report

ACI Europe

Olivier Jankovec critiques the Letta Report for neglecting crucial aviation challenges, emphasizing the need for a balanced approach to EU air transport transformation for sustainability and resilience.

BRUSSELS – The high-level report on the future of the EU Single Market prepared by former Italian Head of Government, Enrico Letta and presented last month, aims at providing strategic direction for the future of the EU, ahead of the new 5-year political cycle due to begin with the forthcoming elections of the European Parliament and the designation of a new European Commission.

On 3 May, Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI Europe, shared his perspective on the report. Titled “The Letta Report & Aviation: A Missed Opportunity” Jankovec’s commentary (accessible here) backs the report’s ambition and many of its recommendations to deepen the EU’s Single Market – but deplores the fact that the report only speaks about “streamlining air transport” and leaves the key challenges faced by the sector largely unaddressed.

Recalling the fact that by providing unrivalled connectivity within Europe and beyond, aviation effectively enables the free movement enshrined in the EU Treaties and thus makes an essential contribution to economic and social cohesion, Jankovec expressed significant concerns that the Letta report had addressed aviation’s decarbonisation challenge exclusively through the prism of reforming Air Traffic Management and connecting all of Europe’s capitals by High Speed Train.

Jankovec wrote: “There is nothing [in the report] on the key issue of producing and delivering affordable Sustainable Aviation Fuels across airport network; Nothing on how to support the development and deployment of zero-emission aircraft (…); Nothing on the need to ensure aviation and airports are factored in energy transition policies (…); and nothing either on how to finance aviation’s green transition. The silence of the Letta report on all these issues is difficult to understand as addressing them will be essential to maintain the socio-economic benefits of aviation and in particular cohesion. If anything, they reveal that what the Single Market truly needs is transforming EU air transport, not merely streamlining it”.

Jankovec’s op-ed also points to the need for the Single Market to address aviation’s resilience and capacity challenges and offers a realistic and data-driven perspective on the opportunities to shift mobility demand from air to rail. His comments underscore the need for both, a more comprehensive and a more balanced approach to aviation within the Single Market: one that prioritises sustainability, resilience, competitiveness and cohesion – looking at connectivity from a transport mode-neutral perspective.

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