Association of European Airlines
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|Type||Airline trade association|
The Association of European Airlines brings together 31 major airlines, and has been the voice of the European airline industry for over 50 years.
Based on its extensive knowledge of the industry and its far-reaching networks, AEA is an essential platform for industry, and is relied upon by policy-makers and the media as a trustworthy contributor to the debates around the decision-making process.
AEA works in partnership with the institutions of the European Union and other stakeholders in the value chain, to ensure the sustainable growth of the European airline industry in a global context.
History and development
AEA traces its history back to 1952, when the Presidents of Air France, KLM, Sabena and Swissair formed a joint study group, shortly afterwards expanded with the addition of BEA (a forerunner of British Airways) and SAS. In February 1954, the Air Research Bureau was established on a permanent basis, in Brussels. The name was subsequently changed to the European Airlines Research Bureau and - in 1973 - the AEA. Shortly after the ARB was established, the 1954 Strasbourg Conference on the Coordination of Transport in Europe led to the foundation of ECAC and recommended that participating states encourage air carriers to undertake cooperative studies aimed at promoting an orderly development of air transport in Europe. Evidently, the AEA was well-placed to be the industry’s representative in dialogue with ECAC.
By the time the AEA name was adopted, membership had grown to 19. There were three standing committees: Research and Planning, Airline Industry Affairs, and Technical Affairs, which was formed when a pre-existing industry body (the ’Montparnasse Committee’) was absorbed into AEA.
The next major change took place in 1983 when the (then) Commercial and Aeropolitical Committee was divided, in recognition of the growing involvement of the EU in air transport matters. This involvement was formalised in 1986 when air transport was confirmed as being subject to the single-market process.
In the mid-1980s, the Association acquired permanent groups in the fiscal, security and in-flight services fields. To these was added, in 1991, an Infrastructure Group.
Another overhaul occurred in 1994, with the establishment of five standing committees, including Infrastructure & Environment and Social Affairs. Research & Information and legal matters acquired the status of support functions.
In 2002, the AEA Presidents determined that the AEA should become an organisation, which provides an industry platform for its members in the EU policy-making environment. To achieve this end, the statutes were amended. One major change was that the Presidents would set annual objectives for the Association. The Presidents’ Committee, enlarged by two additional members to twelve, was given the additional task of monitoring the progress of the association in achieving the set objectives. Furthermore, the Presidents modified the criteria for entry and exit into the association to reflect recent market developments. These far-reaching amendments to the statutes were formally approved in May 2003.
Current members of the AEA (as at January 2014) are:
AEA Member Airlines carry nearly 400 million passengers and 6 million tonnes of cargo in 2013 and provide direct employment to 390,000 people. They operate 11,000 flights a day, serving 640 destinations in 170 countries, with a global turnover of €93 billion.