Click here for print-friendly edition

April 2007 - Welcome to the IAOPA Europe enews which goes to 23,000 aircraft owners and pilots in 27 countries across the continent

IAOPA-Europe e-newsletter, April 2007

Welcome to the monthly e-news of IAOPA-Europe, which goes out to 23,000 AOPA members across the continent of Europe.

This 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 continent.

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.

The 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 is required.

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

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."

AOPA 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?
"The fact 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."


Pay 0% VAT on your next aircraft

If you are buying, selling, importing or operating an aircraft - THINK ABOUT THE VAT. We can assist private or corporate aircraft owners and operators inside or outside the EU and have handled more aircraft than all other providers combined.

Call us for the best solutions and references available. Tel: +45 70 20 00 51.

AOPA Sweden acts on unfair charges

AOPA 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.

The 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."

In 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."

AOPA 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."

It 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

Transponder 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.

Frank 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 selected.

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.


The Flying Shop – recognized as among the best of the UK&rsquos pilots&rsquo supplies outlets – offer friendly advice and detailed knowledge of Headsets, Avionics, Safety Equipment, Instruments, GPS, Charts, Books, Clothing, Stationery and Gifts.

Access to everything you need whether shopping online, by phone, in person or from the catalogue. Visit

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

Bulgaria's 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 members."

Naples to close for runway works

AOPA 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 maintenance works.

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."

Naples 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

You 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

The 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 autumn.

The new dates and application information will be posted on the rally's website


AERO 2007 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN : Gateway to the robust European general aviation market

The world is coming to Friedrichshafen...

The number of global exhibitors at Aero 2007 is already up by 17 percent as worldwide interest in the European GA market reaches new heights.

Aero Friedrichshafen project manager Thomas Grunewald says the number of companies who have signed up for the German show this year already stands at 319, compared to 286 in 2005. The final number of exhibitors is expected to exceed 500. Exhibition space sold has increased from 23,693 square metres in 2005 to 27,285 square metres, with more than three months still to go. More than 50,000 visitors are expected.

In 2007, Aero will be highlighting the VLJ market, with companies such as Cessna, Diamond and Eclipse presenting their new fleets. Other participating companies include Adams Aviation, Beechcraft, Bose, Cirrus, Columbia, Socata, Czech Aircraft, David Clark, Evektor, Gippsland, Jeppesen, JetPROP, Kelly Aerospace, Lycoming, Mooney, Pilatus, Piper, Roland Aircraft, Shell, Vulcanair, and xtremeAir.

Friedrichshafen's position bordering Austria and Switzerland, and its close proximity to France, Italy and Eastern Europe make it the most convenient location for an aviation expo in Europe, and more than 50,000 visitors are expected this year. The show will run from April 19 to April 22, 2007.

Aero covers every aspect of the general aviation industry and provides an important business platform for companies involved with business aircraft, gliders and ultra-light aircraft, avionics, maintenance products and services as well as accessories. Aero's business aircraft sector in particular has grown significantly over the past few years.

For more information please see

If you have any comments on this newsletter or would like to have information from your country included in it, please email If you would like anyone else to receive this e-news, please email to have them added to the mailing list.

Send this newsletter to a friend!