The Association of European Airlines (AEA) chairman for 2009, Ivan Misetic of Croatia Airlines, was accompanied by Jean-Cyril Spinetta of Air France/ KLM, Willie Walsh of British Airways, Wolfgang Mayrhuber of Lufthansa and Steve Ridgway of Virgin Atlantic, as well as AEA secretary general Ulrich Schulte- Strathaus.
The AEA CEOs emphasised that, in contrast to other parts of the world, European airlines were not looking for taxpayer-backed bailouts. The airlines want to manage their own way out of the crisis, said the AEA chairman, and that means removing barriers and creating pathways back to prosperity.
The recession had not relieved the airlines of their need to access funds to regenerate their business and maintain their commitment to the environment, the Commissioner was told. The financial crisis had cut off many commercial sources of funding, and a decision by the European Investment Bank to cease supporting the airline sector urgently needed to be reviewed, they said.
The CEOs also urged Tajani to closely monitor the activities of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to ensure that they remained firmly focused on safety activities and did not stray into areas of political activity.