IAOPA-Europe e-newsletter, April
to the monthly e-news of IAOPA-Europe, which goes out to
23,000 AOPA members across the continent of Europe.
e-news is made possible by our lead sponsor AERO
Friedrichshafen, Europe's most important general aviation
exhibition, to be held from April 19 to April 22. Get it
in your diary now! (See below)
Europe gets serious on GA
The European Commission's
long-awaited paper on general aviation in Europe has finally been
published, and marks a promising start on the long road to
creating a positive environment for the industry across the
The paper is the result of a meeting in Brussels
a year ago between European Air Transport Commissioner Daniel
Calleja Crespo and four AOPA staffers – IAOPA president Phil
Boyer, German managing director Dr Michael Erb, UK CEO Martin
Robinson and IAOPA secretary John Sheehan – at which general
aviation in Europe was contrasted unfavourably with the industry
in the United States. At that meeting Martin Robinson pointed out
that European commissioners going back to Neil Kinnock had
disclaimed responsibility for GA when tackled by AOPA, but Calleja
was clearly open to new ideas that might help improve the
industry's prospects and agreed to a study of GA in Europe in
order to establish baseline data.
The results of this work
were published in February in a document called GA in the European
Community, and the subject was discussed at a conference in
Brussels in March where the speakers included John Sheehan and
Martin Robinson. The contrast between Europe and America was
pointed up starkly by Robinson in his address. AOPA estimates the
value of GA to the US economy as $103 billion (£54 billion); in
the UK it is around £1.4 billion, and the UK is one of Europe's
most active GA nations. At best, Europe accounts for perhaps 20 or
30 percent of the US value. There was, he said, clearly room for
growth, and with more than 11,000 jobs in the UK dependent on
general aviation, the potential across Europe was massive.
EC paper estimates there are 90,000 pilots engaged in "private
powered flying" in Europe, using 20,000 aircraft and flying
between three and four million hours a year. There are 40,000
microlight pilots, about 90,000 glider pilots and 22,000 gliders,
115,000 hang glider and paraglider pilots, 120,000 parachutists,
and 5,300 balloon and airship pilots. The business jet fleet is
picked out as the most dramatic growth area. It describes flight
training as "a core of general aviation" which is "usually
considered to be one of the important sources of qualified
aviation staff for airlines". It states that the line between
commercial air transport and general aviation is increasingly
blurred, and clarification is needed as to what exactly is being
regulated when GA is addressed. It lists some of the difficulties
GA faces – access to airfields and airspace, excessive provisions
of the JARs, environmental issues – and concludes that more data
As usual with the EC, time allowed for
feedback was woefully short, and all comments had to be in by
April 1st. IAOPA-Europe's vice president Rudy Gerber's feedback
was sent to the EC on March 29th. In summary, they say that
regulators should be open about their decisions, regulation should
only be imposed where necessary, regulators must be held to
account for their decisions, rules and standards should be "joined
up" and implemented fairly, regulations should be simple and
user-friendly and should be focussed to minimise side-effects. It
provides definitions and statistical information that will be of
use to the Commission, as well as setting out the major obstacles
to GA in Europe. You can download the full text from the IAOPA
Europe website www.iaopa-eur.org.
Who pays, who benefits?
The prospect of financial
assistance to general aviation when it is forced to equip with
expensive new avionics that confers no benefit on GA is raised in
the European Commission's own proposals for the use of its own
income from aviation.
In meetings with the Commission,
IAOPA Europe has often suggested that when looking at issues like
8.33 kHz radios, where the financial burden on GA would be wholly
disproportionate to the benefit, regulators should consider
finding ways to fund their requirements.
In the EC's Common
Charging Mandate that covers income from en-route charges, mostly
paid by airlines, Chapter 2, article 5, point 3 says: "Without
prejudice to other sources of funding, and with a view to a high
level of safety, cost efficiency and service provision, the
charges may be used to provide funding for projects designed to
assist specific categories of airspace users and/or air navigation
service providers in order to improve collective air navigation
infrastructures, the provision of air navigation services and the
use of airspace in accordance with community law."
UK's Martin Robinson says: "This provides a mechanism for
regulators to deliver system-wide benefits to the airlines more
quickly. However, the airlines object to having 'their' money used
in this way. But they consider the imposition of a requirement for
8.33 kHz radios on GA as a safety and capacity measure. How can
they claim to be serious about safety when they refuse to allow
their charges to help pay for this supposed benefit?
is that 8.33 kHz radios are solely to increase capacity for the
airlines, and are of no benefit to GA. Indeed, we maintain that
better use of existing frequencies would be more than adequate for
any future spectrum needs.
"This is an important provision
in the Common Charging Mandate and must be made use of. National
AOPAs must demand from their governments cost-benefit studies when
considering mandates that affect GA."
AOPA Sweden acts on unfair charges
Sweden has asked the Director General for Taxes and Duties at the
European Union to try again to resolve a charging anomaly that can
cost aircraft owners tens of thousands of euros when they move
across European borders.
EU law provides that no tax should
be levied on the personal possessions of citizens moving from one
country to another within Europe, nor should any impediment be
placed in the way of its free movement. Some items, like cars and
aircraft, must be registered in the new country of domicile, and a
Certificate of Registration must be issued. While the fee for
registering a car is between 59 and 212 euros, fees levied on an
aircraft brought from Germany by an owner relocating to Sweden
totalled some 2,336 euros. Charges levied on a big aircraft for an
"import certificate of airworthiness" can amount to 42,951 euros.
Swedish CAA has admitted to excessive charging "in order to
finance other activities". AOPA Sweden president Lars Hjelmberg
says: "Laws have been established to protect the free movement of
persons and goods within Europe, but we seem to have made an
exception for one item, the private aircraft."
addition, many countries – like Germany – demand that the owner
pay for an "export certificate of airworthiness" before the
aircraft can be taken out of the country, despite the fact that it
already has a certificate of airworthiness. Germany requires that
a special inspection be made, and paid for, before the export
certificate can be issued. This costs thousands of euros, and
looks like pointless and expensive bureaucracy designed to fleece
the aircraft owner.
Three years ago AOPA Sweden requested
that these anomalies be ironed out. Despite the fact that the EC
promised an answer within a year, it had to be prompted for a
reply at the end of 2006. That reply was short and to the point –
there would be no action.
Now, AOPA Sweden is asking for a
"thorough and exhaustive analysis, qualified assessment and an
elaborated statement on the issues of fact." It adds that "close
to three years is not an acceptable time to produce a reply."
Sweden's new submission to the EU says: "We consider private
aircraft ownership to be on an equal footing with private car
ownership. When an EU citizen wishes to relocate within the Union,
EU legislation frees the citizen from obstacles like troublesome
rules and practices and excessive fees on the relocation of
himself, his family and his personal belongings."
adds that pointless duplication of unnecessary inspections by
member states runs counter to the entire ethos of the European
Union. The letter has been copied to the EU Ombudsman.
Transponder harmony in Germany
codes in Germany have been changed to bring the country into line
with most of the rest of Europe. The 7000 code replaced 0021 and
0022 from March 15, and will now be used by the majority of VFR
traffic across Europe.
AOPA Germany has supported the move
by the DFS, the German CAA, commenting that changing the code to
7000 would greatly promote the Single European Sky concept to
harmonise air traffic control procedures in Europe. In addition,
it would make cross-border VFR flights more straightforward.
Brenner, director of operations of the business unit control
centre at DFS, said that the general regulations on the mandatory
carriage of transponders would remain in place. Germany has TMZs –
Transponder Mandatory Zones – in which transponder codes must be
Apart from appearing in all relevant
publications, the new VFR transponder code are also published in
the new ICAO chart and in the ICAO glider chart which were
released on March 15.
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Malta seeks new strip, no new tax
AOPA Malta is
campaigning for the establishment of an airstrip on Gozo, the
smaller island a few miles north west of Malta which is currently
reachable only by ferry or helicopter. A series of meetings have
been set up with interested parties over a proposal to extend the
disused helipad to create an airstrip for STOL aircraft carrying
at least 18 passengers and freight.
Malta is also seeking relief from the EC's new demands for tax
on avgas, says Dr Ivan Gatt, who was overwhelmingly re-elected
President of AOPA Malta for a third term at the AGM in February.
Dr Gatt says: "We are an island, insulated from mainland Europe,
and we are unfortunately having to pay a heavy price for this
fact. Our argument is that the increase in the cost of fuel now
that tax-free fuel for overseas travel will not be available
will render flying to neighbouring countries prohibitive, and
international contact will be compromised."
The double blow of the addition of excise duty on foreign
flights and the EC's demand to increase tax means that AOPA
members in Malta are now paying over six euros a US gallon (3.8
litres) for avgas, and the addition of 18 percent VAT takes that
to 8.257 euros a gallon. Dr Gatt says: "Because the final
meeting has not yet taken place in Brussels, we can still claim
VAT and tax back when going abroad, but there is a risk that
when the meeting does finally take place, the decision will be
retroactive, and hence all payments due will be forfeited."
AOPA advises in Bulgaria
accession to the European Union has opened up opportunities for
the development of general aviation in the country, says the
President of AOPA Bulgaria, Ivaylo Dermendjiev. The Bulgarian
Ministry of Transport has appointed Ivaylo as a special legal
adviser on aviation, with a view to helping the country conform to
EASA requirements on air safety. Ivaylo says: "The primary
concerns are for transport and passenger aviation, but using my
position in the Bulgarian CAA I intend to develop GA regulations
in Bulgaria in the interests of all Bulgarian and European AOPA
Naples to close for runway works
Italy president Massimo Levi reports that Naples International
Airport (LIRN) will be totally closed to all traffic from June 3rd
at 2300 local time until June 7th at 0600 local for runway
Massimo says: "Unfortunately due to
regulations a notam can be issued only with 30 days notice, and
for this reason the handling company is asking us to make the
closure known to the largest amount of users."
has an unfortunate record of restrictions against general aviation
due to limited parking availability. Nevertheless AOPA Italy has
succeeded in having these restrictions reduced for the approaching
summer season, with a promise of total opening for summer 2008
when new parking spaces should become available.
Sunny Nights Fly-In in Finland
won't need your night-flying skills to fly in to Finland's 'Sunny
Nights' gathering in Lapland, where the sun won't set at all
during the event, between July 3rd and 9th. Pudasjärvi airfield –
EFPU – at 65.24.06N, 26.57.02E is the home of the Sunny Nights
Fly-In organised by Pudasjarvi Aviation Club and AOPA Finland. The
Sunny Nights Air Rally will start from the historic Helsinki-Malmi
airport – EFHF – leading via EFLP and EFKU to EFPU. In Pudasjarvi
flight crews can participate in a precision flight competition, a
Finnish SAR course and competition and in Northern Desert flight
tours. Flights in gliders and hot air balloons are offered. A
harbour for float planes is available close to EFPU. More than
6000 spectators attended to last year's event, which was visited
by a DC-3, an AN-2 and dozens of single engine aircrafts from
Finland and several European countries. For more information see
Egypt rally postponed
Egypt Aero Rally, which was to have been held in April and was
mentioned in the last IAOPA-Europe e-news, has been postponed to
The new dates and application information will
be posted on the rally's website www.aerorallyes-egypt.com.
2007 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN :Gateway
to the robust European general aviation market
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