AVIATION REGULATORY AND POLICY
Aviation Policy: European Commission Proposes to set up new European Partnerships and to Invest Nearly €10 Billion for the Green and Digital Transition
On 23 February 2021, the European Commission presented two legislative proposals to set up 10 new European partnerships (the Partnerships) between the EU Member States and/or the industry. The aim of this proposal is to accelerate the transition towards a green, climate neutral and digital Europe, and to make European industry more resilient and competitive. The European Union will provide nearly €10 billion of funding that the partners will match with at least an equivalent amount of investment. These Partnerships are provided by Horizon Europe, the new EU research and innovation program (2021-2027) and aim to improve EU preparedness and response to infectious diseases, to support the use of renewable biological raw materials in energy production, to ensure European leadership in digital technologies and infrastructures, to make rail transport more competitive, and to develop efficient low-carbon aircraft for clean aviation.
In the context of the aviation industry, the “Clean Aviation,” and the “Single European Sky ATM Research 3” Partnerships are intended to help with speeding up the green and digital transition, and making the industry more competitive. The Clean Aviation Partnership’s objective is to put aviation en route to climate neutrality, by accelerating the development and deployment of disruptive research and innovative solutions. It also aims to develop the next generation of ultra-efficient low-carbon aircraft, with novel power sources, engines, and systems, improving competitiveness and employment in the aviation sector. The Single European Sky ATM Research 3 Partnership aims to accelerate the technological transformation of air traffic management (ATM) in Europe, aligning it to the digital age, to make the European airspace the most efficient and environmentally friendly sky to fly in the world and to support the competitiveness and recovery of Europe’s aviation sector following the COVID-19 crisis.
In terms of next steps, the Commission’s proposal for a Council Regulation based on Article 187 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) related to the two abovementioned Partnerships will have to be adopted by the Council of the European Union, following consultation with the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee.
Aviation Policy: European Commission Presents an Action Plan on Synergies Between Civil, Defense, and Space Industries
On 22 February 2021, the European Commission presented an action plan on synergies between civil, defense and space industries (the Action Plan) to further enhance Europe’s technological sovereignty, its industrial base and to stimulate innovation across the European Union. For the first time, EU funding presents opportunities to reinforce European innovation by exploring and exploiting the disruptive potential of technologies at the interface between defense, space, and civil uses. The main goals of this Action Plan, also called the ‘Three-Point Belt Plan’, are: i) enhancing the complementarity between relevant EU programs and instruments covering research, development, and deployment to increase efficiency of investments and effectiveness of results (the synergies); ii) promoting such EU funding for research and development, including on defense and space, has economic and technological dividends for European citizens (the spin-offs) and; iii) facilitating the use of civil industry research achievements and of civil-driven innovation in European defense cooperation projects (the spin-ins). This Action Plan presents several targeted actions including: i) strengthening the capability-driven approach in the security sector; ii) enhancing synergies between EU programs and instruments; and ii) launching three flagship projects. In particular, the ‘EU drones technologies’ flagship project will aim to identify, together with the industry and defense stakeholders, the technological challenges that need to be solved in order to further develop European drone capabilities from a civil and military perspective. The flagship will contribute to formulating the technological element of the wider drone strategy 2.0, which will present an action plan to further develop unmanned aircraft into an element of the sustainable and smart mobility of the future.
Aviation Policy: The European Union Aviation Safety Agency Launches Information Sessions to Support the Implementation Phase of Ageing Aircraft Structure Rule
On 22 February 2021, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) launched information sessions to support the implementation phase of the ageing aircraft structure rule, included in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1159 published on 5 August 2020 by the European Commission. This regulation amends the additional airworthiness specifications contained within Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/640. The ‘ageing aircraft’ rule addresses safety risks related to ageing phenomena in the structures of large airplanes. These risks include fatigue of the basic type design, widespread fatigue damage, corrosion, fatigue of changes and repairs, and continued operation with unsafe levels of fatigue cracking. Design approval holders are required to develop data to support continuing structural integrity programs for specific categories of large airplanes. At the same time, operators of those airplanes need to revise their aircraft maintenance programs to incorporate those data and to address the adverse effects of changes and repairs on each airframe and its associated maintenance requirements. The elements of the regulation related to ageing aircraft became applicable on 26 February 2021. However, each specific requirement has its own specific deadline for submission of the required data to EASA and for the revision of aircraft maintenance programs.
Airport Slots: The European Union Amends the Airport Slots Regulation and Relieves Airlines of Airport Slot-Use Requirements for the Summer 2021 Scheduling Season
On 15 February 2021, the European Union adopted an amendment to the Airport Slots Regulation that relieves airlines of airport slot-use requirements for the Summer 2021 scheduling season. The adopted Regulation (EU) 2021/250 amends Council Regulation (EEC) No 95/93 as regards temporary relief from the slot utilization rules at EU airports due to the COVID-19 crisis. The regulation derogates from the ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ principle, according to which air carriers had to use at least 80 percent of their allocated slots within a given scheduling period in order to retain precedence on the same series of slots for the next equivalent scheduling period. The new rules put an end to the current full slot waiver, which was deemed no longer justified for the next season. Airlines will now be granted the possibility to return 50 percent of the airport slots that they have been allocated before the start of the 2021 summer season, but they will be then required to use at least 50 percent of their remaining slots if they want to retain the rights to those slots for the summer 2022 scheduling period. However, if routes are affected by measures adopted in the context of COVID-19, airlines may be exempted from the new 50 percent threshold without losing their slots. More specifically, the amendment allows airlines to benefit from a full waiver for slot series returned before 28 February 2021, but limits the number of slots that can be returned to 50 percent of the slots that an airline holds at a particular airport. This provision will apply to both EU and non-EU airlines. In addition, the Commission will be empowered to adopt delegated acts for one year in order to extend the rules until the end of the summer 2022 season, if it would be necessary.
Single European Sky: European Commission Adopts a Staff Working Document Accompanying the Commission Implementing Regulation That Establishes the Common Project One
On 1 February 2021, the European Commission published a Staff Working Document accompanying the Commission Implementing Regulation that establishes the Common Project One (CP1) in support of the single European sky. This is a new framework that contributes to making flying in the European skies more sustainable by ensuring a more efficient management of airways. Following a thorough pilot phase of implementing new technological and operational ATM solutions developed under the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) project dealing with SESAR, CP1 focuses on the most efficient solutions and sets a realistic implementation timeline to be respected by the concerned parties, including airlines, airports and air navigation service providers. These solutions are grouped into six functionalities that introduce a higher degree of digitalization and interoperability for civil and military airspace users, airports and air navigation service providers. More efficient flight trajectories supported by these innovative technologies will also allow modern aircraft to fully exploit their greener and quieter technologies. The new solutions aim to ensure more direct and therefore more fuel efficient flight paths. The detailed arrangements for implementing the CP1 will be included into the Deployment Program that the Commission plans to adopt in the second half of 2021. The European Union will provide funding to support the implementation of the CP1 through the Connected Europe Facility program. The SESAR Deployment Manager will coordinate the CP1 implementation.
Single European Sky: European Commission Urges Eight Member States to Comply With EU Rules on the Provision of Data Link Services for all Operators of Aircraft Flying Within Airspace Under their Responsibility
On 18 February 2021, the European Commission sent an additional letter of formal notice to Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, and Slovakia following these countries’ failure to provide and operate data link services for all operators of aircraft flying within airspace under their responsibility, and which are capable of data link communications. This follows letters of formal notice previously sent on 15 May 2020. Each Member State is required by the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 29/2009, in conjunction with Article 4(3) TFEU, to take the measures necessary to ensure that the air traffic services providers have the capability to provide and operate these services. Data link services are communications between aircraft and the ground that are conveyed through data links, complementing the voice communications used traditionally within air traffic control. The deployment of this interoperable technology in Europe is deemed essential to improving the efficiency of communications between pilots and controllers, thereby increasing air traffic control capacity. The deadline for providers of air traffic services to provide and operate data link services expired on 5 February 2018 and the Commission argues that a lack of equipment in certain control centers is effectively preventing aircraft operators from using data link services – which is why operators were required to equip themselves as of 5 February 2020. The Member States concerned now have one month to address the Commission’s concerns, otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
Single European Sky: International Air Transport Association Welcomes Proposals to Reinvigorate Progress Towards the Single European Sky, but Calls for Key Amendments
On 28 January 2021, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the European Commission’s proposals to reinvigorate progress towards the Single European Sky (SES), but called for key amendments to strengthen the safety, environmental, and economic benefits of modernized European airspace. The SES is a program to reform and modernize European ATM, and the progress for its development has been slow in the last two decades. In September 2020, the Commission published new proposals to revive the SES, and to ensure that environmental and economic benefits to Europe are realized. According to IATA, the European Parliament and EU Member States that are considering the Commission’s proposal should now focus on reducing costs, cutting emissions, strengthening safety, and improving efficiency to help aviation build back better from the COVID-19 crisis. IATA has identified four key areas which could strengthen the Commission’s SES proposals, including: i) establishing an independent economic regulator; ii) reinforcing the role of the performance review body; iii) setting binding performance targets; and iv) strengthening the power of the network manager.
IATA Reports: IATA Announces Full-Year Global Passenger Traffic Results for 2020
On 3 February 2021, IATA announced full-year global passenger traffic results for 2020 showing that demand fell by 65.9 percent compared to the full year of 2019, marking the sharpest traffic decline in aviation history. International passenger demand in 2020 was 75.6 percent below 2019 levels, and the December 2020 total traffic was 69.7 percent below the same month in 2019. Bookings for future travel made in January 2021 were down 70 percent compared to 2020, putting further pressure on airline cash positions and potentially impacting the timing of the expected recovery. IATA’s baseline forecast for 2021 shows a 50.4 percent improvement on 2020 demand that would bring the industry to 50.6 percent of 2019 levels. However, IATA stresses that there is a severe downside risk if travel restrictions in response to new variants persist. In such a case, the report indicates that demand improvement could be limited to just 13 percent over 2020 levels, leaving the industry at 38 percent of 2019 levels. In light of this baseline forecast for 2021, IATA urges governments to work with the aviation industry to develop the standards for vaccination, testing, and validation that will enable governments to reopen and resume international air travel. According to Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO: “The IATA Travel Pass will help this process, by providing passengers with an App to easily and securely manage their travel in line with any government requirements for COVID-19 testing or vaccine information. In the meantime, the airline industry will require continued financial support from governments in order to remain viable.”
IATA Reports: IATA Confirms that 2020 is the ‘Worst Year for Air Cargo Demand’ Since Performance Monitoring Began in 1990
On 3 February 2021, IATA released data for global air freight markets showing that demand for air cargo decreased by 10.6 percent in 2020, compared to 2019. This was the largest drop in year-on-year demand since IATA started to monitor cargo performance in 1990, outpacing the 6 percent fall in global trade in goods. According to IATA’s report, air cargo is surviving the crisis in better shape than the passenger side of the business. For many airlines, 2020 saw air cargo become a vital source of revenues, despite weakened demand. However, IATA’s report highlights that with much of the passenger fleet grounded, meeting demand continues to be an enormous challenge. Strong variations were evident in the regional performance of air cargo in 2020. North American and African carriers reported an annual gain in demand in 2020 (+1.1 percent and +1.0 percent, respectively), while all other regions remained in negative territory compared to 2019. International demand fell in all regions with the exception of Africa which posted a 1.9 percent increase in 2020 compared to the previous year. European carriers reported a 16.0 percent drop in demand in 2020 compared to 2019 (-16.2 percent for international operations) and a fall in capacity of 27.1 percent (-27.1 percent for international operations). In December 2020, airlines posted a decrease in international demand of 5.6 percent compared to the previous year.
IATA Reports: IATA Releases a New Analysis Showing that the Airline Industry is Expected to Remain Cash Negative Throughout 2021
On 24 February 2021, IATA released a new analysis showing that the airline industry is expected to remain cash negative throughout 2021, while previous analysis indicated that airlines would turn cash positive in the fourth quarter of 2021. At the industry level, airlines are now not expected to be cash positive until 2022. In the last months, governments have tightened travel restrictions in response to new COVID-19 variants. IATA’s estimates for cash burn in 2021 see airlines burning through US$75 billion to US$95 billion range from a previously anticipated US$48 billion. With airlines now expected to burn cash throughout 2021, IATA believes that it is vital that governments and the industry are fully prepared to restart the moment when the governments agree that it is safe to reopen borders.
COVID-19: EUROCONTROL’s Publishes Comprehensive Assessment on COVID-19 Impact on European Aviation
On 19 February 2021, EUROCONTROL published a Comprehensive Assessment on COVID-19 impact on European Aviation. In the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, EUROCONTROL is publishing a regular comprehensive assessment of the latest traffic situation in Europe and provides a comparison to the same period in 2019. On Thursday 18 February there were 9,641 flights that correspond to 34 percent of 2019 levels. Over the first 18 days of February, traffic was -66 percent compared to the same days in 2019. This was above the latest EUROCONTROL traffic scenarios dated 28 January 2021, mainly due to very active cargo traffic as well as slightly higher operations for larger airlines than anticipated. EUROCONTROL’s assessment shows that a significant proportion of flight operations for some of the largest airlines are actually non-commercial, i.e. training flights to maintain pilot ratings. It further provides that the main traffic flow had been the intra-Europe flow with 7,182 flights on Thursday 18 February, which increased (+two percent) over two weeks. At the same time, intra-Europe flights were at -67 percent compared to 2019, and intercontinental flows were at -61 percent, while domestic flows were the most active flows (i.e. nine of the top 10 flows were domestic).
COVID-19: The United Nations Children’s Fund Launches the Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative
In February 2021, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched the Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative. This initiative has been formed with a number of airlines to secure the transport of COVID-19 vaccines, essential medicines, medical devices and other critical supplies to help respond to the pandemic worldwide. In order to help UNICEF reach participating countries, airlines have committed to prioritize the transport of such supplies, while ensuring measures, such as temperature control and security, and adding freight capacity to routes where needed. The initiative supports the COVAX Facility, which aims to ensure that participating countries have fair access to vaccines, regardless of their income level. Under COVAX, UNICEF is leading the procurement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines for low-income and lower-middle-income countries. In this context, the participation of the airline industry is considered vital to support equal access to vaccines worldwide. This initiative will also act as a global logistics preparedness mechanism for other humanitarian and health crises over the longer term. In line with this initiative, COVAX deliveries and the subsequent vaccination of frontline workers aim to support health and social care systems to safely resume these critical services.
Aviation Safety: European Commission’s Evaluation Confirms the Continued Relevance of EU Rules on Follow-Up Procedures in the Aftermath of Safety-Related Events in Civil Aviation
On 17 February 2021, the European Commission published its Staff Working Document on the evaluation of its Occurrence Reporting Regulation which, according to the Commission, confirms the continued relevance of Regulation (EU) No. 376/2014 for the reporting, analysis, and follow-up of occurrences in civil aviation, and finds that it has contributed to the overall improvement of aviation safety in the European Union. An occurrence in civil aviation, within the context of the current regulation, is a safety-related event which endangers or which, if not corrected or addressed, could endanger an aircraft, its occupants or any other person. The regulation seeks to ensure that relevant safety information associated with such occurrences is reported, collected, stored, protected, exchanged, disseminated, and analyzed. To ensure that occurrences that pose a significant risk to aviation safety are reported, the regulation provides rules on confidentiality, and on the protection of the individuals who report. The Commission’s evaluation found that the regulation has contributed to the overall improvement of aviation safety in the European Union, increasing reports of safety-related events and improving the quality of the safety data extracted from the occurrence reports. However, the evaluation also highlights a number of areas that need to be improved, including, among the others: i) the analysis and follow-up of occurrences at national level; ii) the establishment of advanced arrangements between the competent and judicial authorities in the majority of the Member States; and iii) the designation of a ‘just culture body’ in some Member States to ensure full protection of the reporters in accordance with the regulation.
Aviation Safety: EASA Declares Boeing 737 MAX Safe to Return to Service in Europe
On 27 January, 2021, EASA gave its approval for the return to service of a modified version of the Boeing 737 MAX. EASA considers that the combination of the flight control system architectural update and associated wiring modifications, the revised flight crew procedures, and the new training requirements constitute the necessary elements to safely bring the 737 MAX aircraft back to service after almost two years on the ground. Boeing 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March 2019 following the second of two accidents occurred within just six months. The design of a flight controls function, intended to make the plane easier to handle, (i.e. the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS) was identified as a key contributor to these events by the aircraft accident investigation bodies. The MCAS, guided by only one Angle of Attack (AoA) sensor, kicked in repeatedly if that sensor malfunctioned, pushing the nose of the aircraft downward multiple times. In both accidents, pilots ended up losing control of their plane, resulting in a crash with total loss of aircraft. As the aircraft resumes service, EASA declared that it will continue to monitor 737 MAX operations closely, analyzing any operational issues that may occur, and taking action as appropriate.
Aviation Safety: EASA Publishes the Air Ops Risk Review for 2020
On 26 February 2021, EASA published the Air Ops Risk Review, providing a preliminary safety review for air operations in 2020. In 2020 the COVID-19 crisis has reduced civil aviation to a fraction of its normal activities, and new safety risks have emerged. These risks include dealing with the rapid storage and de-storage of aircraft, management of wildlife hazards due to the reduced amount of aviation activity, and the degradation of skills and knowledge of aviation personnel caused by their reduced activity. EASA established a COVID-19 Safety Risk Portfolio that listed the identified risks together with the appropriate mitigations. EASA’s review reports that in 2020 worldwide there were 10 fatal accidents involving commercial air transport large airplanes and 327 fatalities, and there were no fatal accidents in commercial airline operations involving an EASA member state operator. In 2021, EASA will continue to work with its safety partners to further assess systemic safety risks in the aviation sector, in particular by developing the Data4Safety Program. Also, in June 2021, EASA will hold the SAFE 360 conference that will allow an industry-wide review of the most critical safety issues that are currently impeding recovery.
Civil Aviation: EUROCAE and EUROCONTROL Strengthen Cooperation in Aviation Standards’ Development
On 9 February 2021, EUROCAE and EUROCONTROL concluded a new Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to strengthen cooperation in aviation standards. Standards are key enablers of aviation interoperability and harmonization; they assist in demonstrating compliance with regulations, and support procurement by providing service providers and manufacturers with consistent requirements. In this context, the MoC provides for greater mutual recognition of the role played by each organization in the field of standards, and contributes to greater complementarity between the two. According to Eamonn Brennan, Director General of EUROCONTROL: “Increased collaboration between EUROCAE and EUROCONTROL is a step forward for European aviation. Standards have a fundamental role in accelerating the deployment of the future digital European sky, envisaged by the Airspace Architecture Study. This new arrangement will bring more efficiencies and give more visibility to the European standard development collaborative effort.”
Civil Aviation: EASA releases the Second Package of Easy Access Rules as Dynamic Online Publications
On 9 February 2021, EASA released the second package of Easy Access Rules as dynamic online publications. This publication is part of EASA eRules, a rules digitalization project to improve access to EASA’s regulatory material. eRules is part of the CORAL Program supporting the EASA digitalization goal of delivering an integrated digital system and a user-friendly one-stop digital experience. EASA eRules project has been producing consolidated publications of rules for their easy access under the name of ‘Easy Access Rules’ in the PDF format and now also as online publications. The publication of this second package of Easy Access Rules as dynamic online publications includes: i) Easy Access Rules for Unmanned Aircraft Systems; ii) Easy Access Rules for Airworthiness and Environmental Certification; iii) Easy Access Rules for Additional Airworthiness Specifications; iv) Easy Access Rules for Standardized European Rules of the Air; v) Easy Access Rules for Balloons; and vi) Easy Access Rules for the Basic Regulation.
Sustainable Aviation: EUROCONTROL Publishes its First Aviation Sustainability Briefing
On 18 February 2021, EUROCONTROL published its First Aviation Sustainability Briefing. This briefing is part of EUROCONTROL’s initiative to provide key information in order to guide decisions that will improve aviation’s environmental footprint, both at policy and industrial level. This briefing is addressed not only to those working in the aviation industry, but to everyone who is concerned about aviation’s impact on the environment and wants to know more about the possibilities and trends of the future in the industry. While aviation is transitioning to carbon neutrality, EUROCONTROL is working on a number of sustainability services to reach the shared vision of a carbon-neutral industry by 2050, with many solutions being developed and implemented by EUROCONTROL’s partners in the aviation industry. This first edition of the briefing features two partners with solutions for the reduction of aviation’s carbon footprint, including Airbus’ fello’fly project and NESTE’s sustainable aviation fuels.
Sustainable Aviation: European Aviation Sector Launches “Destination 2050 – A Route to Net Zero European Aviation”
On 11 February 2021, several trade associations active in the European aviation sector launched a flagship sustainability initiative named “Destination 2050 – A Route to Net Zero Aviation.” This initiative is based on a new independent report which provides a vision for meaningful CO2 emission reduction efforts in Europe and globally. This study provides that net zero CO2 emissions from all flights within and departing from the EU can be achieved by 2050 through joint, coordinated, and decisive industry and government efforts. The European aviation industry is committed to reaching this target and contribute to the goals set in the European Green Deal and the Paris Agreement. Destination 2050 shows a possible pathway that combines new technologies, improved operations, sustainable aviation fuels, and economic measures. In line with this initiative, absolute emissions could be reduced by 92 percent, while the remaining eight percent could be removed from the atmosphere through negative emissions, achieved through natural carbon sinks or dedicated technologies. Furthermore, according to this initiative, there is an opportunity to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 through a combination of four key measures, subject to securing the required supporting policy and financing framework at European Union and national level. These four measures include: i) improving aircraft and engine technologies; ii) using sustainable aviation fuels; iii) implementing economic measures; and iv) improving air traffic management and aircraft operations, which could achieve emission reductions.
ANTITRUST AND COMPETITION
State Aid: EU General Court dismisses Ryanair’s case against French aid measures to support airlines amid the COVID-19 outbreak
On 17 February 2021, the General Court of the European Union dismissed Ryanair’s action to annul the European Commission’s decision approving a French aid measure to support French airlines amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The contested Commission decision related to an approved French aid measure consisting of a deferral of the payment of civil aviation tax and solidarity tax on airline tickets benefitting airlines holding a French license. In its judgment, the General Court examined, for the first time, the legality of a state aid scheme adopted in order to address the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak under Article 107(2)(b) TFEU. The General Court clarified the relationship between state aid rules, the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of nationality laid down in Article 18(1) TFEU, and the principle of the free provision of services. The General Court confirmed that the COVID-19 outbreak and the travel restrictions and lockdown measures adopted by France constituted an exceptional occurrence within the meaning of Article 107(2)(b) TFEU, which has caused economic damage to the airlines operating in France. The General Court argued that the objective of the tax payment deferral was actually to make good the damage in question. The General Court also found that limiting the tax payment deferral to airlines possessing a French license is appropriate for achieving that objective. The General Court confirmed that the objective of the tax payment deferral satisfies the requirements of the derogation laid down in Article 107(2)(b) TFEU, that the conditions for granting that aid do not go beyond what is necessary to achieve that objective, and that the scheme does not amount to discrimination prohibited under Article 18(1) TFEU.
State Aid: EU General Court Dismisses Ryanair’s Action Against a Swedish loan Guarantee Scheme to Support Airlines Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak
On 17 February 2021, the General Court of the European Union dismissed Ryanair’s action to annul the European Commission’s decision approving a Swedish loan guarantee scheme to support airlines holding a Swedish operating license, which were affected by the COVID-19 outbreak under the EU’s Temporary State Aid Framework. In its judgment dismissing Ryanair’s action, the General Court examined for the first time the legality of a state aid scheme adopted in order to address the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak in light of Article 107(3)(b) TFEU, and confirmed the legality of the Commission’s decision. The General Court also clarified the relationship between state aid rules, principles of non-discrimination on grounds of nationality laid down in the first paragraph of Article 18 TFEU, and the principle of the free provision of services. In particular, the General Court confirmed that the objective of the loan guarantee scheme satisfies the requirements of the derogation laid down in Article 107(3)(b) TFEU, as it effectively seeks to remedy a serious disturbance in the Swedish economy caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and the conditions for granting aid did not go beyond what was necessary to achieve that objective. The General Court also concluded that the scheme did not amount to discrimination prohibited under the first paragraph of Article 18 TFEU, and that the limitation of the loan guarantee scheme to airlines in possession of a Swedish license is appropriate for achieving the objective of remedying the serious disturbance in the Swedish economy.
PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS AND EVENTS
Past Event: SESAR Modus Workshop on “The Future of Multimodal Air Transport”
On 19 January 2021, SESAR H2020 Modus Project organized a workshop to discuss the challenges and opportunities for air transport within a multimodal transport system. The recently-started exploratory research project aims to analyze the performance of the overall transport system, and to identify future drivers for passenger demand and supply. It also assesses the impact on airside and landside processes and capacities. Based on these analyses, potential solutions to meet high-level European transport objectives may be proposed.
Past Event: EUROCONTROL’s “Stakeholder Forum on Cybersecurity”
On 17 February 2021, EUROCONTROL organized the EUROCONTROL Stakeholder Forum on cybersecurity, where a panel of cybersecurity leaders discussed how to build a more cyber-resilient aviation industry. This online event was part of EUROCONTROL’s round of Stakeholder Forum discussions, where EUROCONTROL attempts to tackle a number of trends in European aviation with a wide range of key players. During this webinar, stakeholders shared their insight and tackled key cyber-related challenges faced by aviation in the short and longer-term. At the same time, they explored the financial and operational impacts of these challenges, while looking at some of the solutions adopted by the industry.
Past Event: EUROCONTROL’s Online Event on “Partnering for AI in Aviation”
On 24 February 2021, Eurocontrol organized an online event titled “Partnering for AI in aviation,” which was part of the new FLY AI webinar series. EUROCONTROL is organizing the FLY AI webinar series on behalf of the European Aviation High Level Group on Artificial intelligence (AI) as a first step towards building an AI community of practice for aviation. This first webinar focused on the need for partnering to ensure a successful and rapid uptake of AI across key aviation sectors. The webinar tackled a few key questions concerning the main challenges aviation faces in implementing AI, and how these challenges can be addressed.
Past Event: SESAR’s Online Webinar on “ATM Cyber-Security – The Industry Perspective”
On 25 February 2021, SESAR organized an online webinar with the title “ATM cybersecurity – The industry perspective.“ This webinar was designed to highlight the industry perspective, exploring how the industry could secure and protect ATM operations and the exchange of digital information. In addition, the webinar addressed what’s on the horizon in terms of new tools and solutions, and whether the industry is on the right track to addressing the crucial issue of cybersecurity in ATM in line with the SESAR JU vision on cybersecurity.
Past Event: EASA’s Webinar on “Fatigue Risk Management in Cargo and On-Demand Operations”
On 15 March 2021, EASA organized the first Webinar on Fatigue Risk Management in Cargo and On-Demand Operations. The event was primarily intended for representatives from national aviation authorities, the European aviation industry and crew organizations, and took take place online from 13:00 to 16:00. This interactive online workshop included practical examples of implementations of fatigue risk management in cargo/on-demand operations, and a presentation of state-of-the-art technology to support fatigue risk management.
Upcoming Event: 2021 EUROCAE’s Annual Symposium
On 28–30 April 2021, EUROCAE, the aviation standardization organization, is organizing its Annual Symposium. The Annual Symposium is a yearly event, and this edition will be held in a three-day hybrid format at EUROCAE premises in Paris and virtually. The Symposium will address some of the most relevant developments in the aviation sector, grouped under the following sessions: i) services – future of ATM infrastructure; ii) automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI); iii) visionary talks; iv) innovation, environment and sustainability; v) cross industry panel; and the vi) role of standardization for a sustainable recovery. Finally, the General Assembly will be held on 29 April, from 14:30 to 16:00, while the EUROCAE Award Session will take place 30 April, from 14:30 to 15:30.
Upcoming Event 2021: EASA’s Safety in Aviation Forum for Europe SAFE 360°
On 8–10 June 2021, EASA is organizing the Safety in Aviation Forum for Europe SAFE 360°, a three-day conference that will bring together safety experts to discuss the new safety landscape caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will allow an aviation industry-wide review of the most critical safety issues that are currently impeding the recovery. The conference will foresee panels on the importance of effective training, integrated risk management, and the monitoring of safety issues arising during the pandemic, as well as workshops on the safe use of airspace, turnaround safety, entry of aircraft performance data, and approach path management. More information will be published in the coming months on the EASA’s website.