ECAC's Focal Point for Economic Matters is Silvia Gehrer, Director General of Civil Aviation, Austria.
Lead responsibility within the ECAC Secretariat lies with Silvia Prati.
ECAC activities in the economic field aim at promoting an economically efficient, sustainable and competitive European air transport sector, and have four main components:
The first one is to support the understanding on economic issues of common interest to the aviation community within ECAC, through discussions held in the Economic Working Group and in the Network of Chief Economists, both established in 2016.
- The Working Group has been established to exchange views on current and future challenges for the aviation community (e.g. competition, market access, taxation, ownership and control) and to provide an effective forum for discussion on economic matters of common interest to all ECAC Member States. <Terms of Reference - May 2016>
- The Network of Chief Economists was set up with the objective of bridging the gap of incomplete knowledge of essential data such as true O&D (origin & destination), freight traffic and logistics, jobs in the air transport sector and supply chain, and has the mandate in particular to list existing economic studies, statistics and other relevant materials on issues such as connectivity, taxation, airport charges, traffic data, route potential analysis, economic impact of regulations, air navigation services charges, etc. and to exchange views on permanent or current challenges for the aviation community with regard to methods (e.g. data collection, surveys, studies, strategic intelligence). <Terms of Reference - August 2016>
The second is the preparation for ICAO events to enable ECAC Member States to present co-ordinated and effective contributions and influence global outcomes. This co-ordination is undertaken in cooperation with the European Commission, in an ad hoc coordination group. This group is actively preparing for the meetings of the ICAO Air Transport Regulation Panel and its working group and the Economic Commission of the ICAO Assembly.
The third is the organisation of an annual ECAC Forum. The Forum was established in 2008 to give the Directors General of Civil Aviation of ECAC's Member States the opportunity for an open discussion of strategic issues with potentially far-reaching national and international significance. Given the number of calls on the time of Directors General, the one-day Forums are organised back-to-back with their December meeting in the ECAC premises in Paris.
The fourth is the organisation of ECAC/EU Dialogues with the air transport industry on topics of common interest. The ECAC/EU Dialogue is held every three years, and the next edition is scheduled to take place in Rome in June 2017.
During the Forum Directors General are joined by senior representatives from the European Commission, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), ICAO and EUROCONTROL, and the debates are very much facilitated and enhanced by input from selected external speakers mainly from the industry.
In previous years, the Forum has focused on economic issues such as the security of the long-term supply of aviation fuel (2008), the passenger experience (2009), crisis management in aviation with a special emphasis on the Spring 2010 volcanic ash episode (2010), the impact of intermodality on aviation (2011), air cargo (2012), the Economics of airports (2013) and the European air transport – A vision for the future (2014) and Connectivity and Economic Development in 2015. The last edition, in December 2016, focused on the issue of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).
ECAC/EU Dialogues with the air transport industry
ECAC and the European Commission work in close cooperation on all aspects of European air transport. In 1995, they agreed that it would be worthwhile to bring leaders of the air transport industry – representing scheduled, non-scheduled and regional airlines as well as airport management – together periodically with the Directors General of ECAC's Member States. The objective was to provide a forum that would facilitate open and thought-provoking discussions between the regulators and senior aviation industry representatives on a wide range of air transport issues, and to assess future implications and challenges.
Since 1995 nine ECAC/EU Dialogues have taken place across Europe. Typically organised every two or three years, they have covered a wide range of topics, including airport capacity, economic issues, aviation and the environment, air passenger rights, improving the passenger experience and whether this should be achieved through competition or regulation, and, in 2014, the competitiveness of the European air transport in a global environment.
The Dialogues attract approximately 150 delegates who are principally Directors General of Civil Aviation and their senior colleagues, and senior representatives of European airlines, airport operators, air navigation service providers, manufacturers, academics and European industry organisations. They continue to offer a welcome forum for the air transport industry and thanks to the seniority of the speakers contributing to each event, provide a stimulating and informative debate.