By Bjorn Fehrm
October 9, 2018, ©. Leeham News, Antibes France: The European Airlines Association, ERA, gathered 44 of its 51 member airlines in Antibes France, today for the first day of its 2019 General Assembly meeting.
LNA participated in the event for the first time and we found an impressive gathering of airline and airport representatives, aircraft OEMs and support businesses discussing the challenges facing the European regional air transport market.
The European regional airlines are many times the Small and Medium-Enterprises (SMEs) of the airliner industry, serving a local market with connectivity to the large airline’s hubs. By it, they level the playing field for local industry and institutions so they can participate in the dynamic business environment of today.
But this industry faces large challenges, according to its association Director Monserrat Barriga. Some are homemade, some come from LCC competition picking the cherries and leaving an ever-less tasteful connectivity cake and some come from EU legislators not doing their homework before passing laws.
The least these airlines need, according to Barriga, are Brussel authorities not checking what their decisions mean for these infrastructure providers. An example presented was the recent legislation around passenger compensations for delays.
A regional airline can be responsible for paying a passenger three times his paid ticket price because the mainline airline the passenger connects to is three hours delayed. The regional had nothing to do with the delay, yet a substantial portion of his yearly margin of operating the route can disappear in a single delay he had no part in.
The EU regulators passing this EU261 regulation never checked how this law affects different airlines. They only focused the large and aren’t too interested in changing anything now.
The only chance for the SME airlines for corrections to the law is to unite behind ERA, who carries their issues with one voice in Brussels.
The assembly has all the OEMs and support businesses present, with presentations during the day from Airbus, Embraer, Mitsubishi, ATR, GE Aviation, and De Havilland Canada. The other OEMs and support companies like Pratt & Whitney, Bombardier CRJ (soon part of Mitsubishi), SuperJet, Lufthansa Technic and many more are all to find in the conference’s exhibition area.
Synopsis of what was presented during the day:
ATR presented a new STOL version of its Turboprop called 42-600S, which can operate from 800m runways (instead of the normal 1,200m), enabling another 500 airports in the world.
Airbus presented how important the A220 is for the company as it’s a clean sheet design addressing a new market segment for Airbus.
Embraer’s CEO of the Commercial business, John Slattery, emphasized how important sustainability issues have become and how its E-jet E2 generation contributes to lower the industry’s environmental footprint.
GE went through ts continued effort to bring down the operational costs of its CF34 engines, with special pricing bundles for combined tech updates and LLP replacement stacks.
De Havilland Canada told how its Dash 8-400 (no Q anymore, just Dash 8) now has a focused company behind it and how its 1,200 employees would support the same number of operational Dash 8s.
Finally, Mitsubishi presented how the regional market is their sole focus and how the SpaceJet M90 followed by the M100 will lift the passenger experience to a mainline level while simultaneously reducing operational costs.