IAOPA-Europe e-news, March 1st
to the bi-monthly e-news of IAOPA-Europe, which goes out
to 23,000 AOPA members in 27 countries across Europe.
months to go to the IAOPA World Assembly in Athens – see
details at the foot of this e-news.
Fuel tax rebate?
AOPA-Germany's successful campaign for a fuel tax rebate for
general aviation users could translate into a multi-million-euro
payback for the GA industry in every country in Europe.
two-year legal battle which resulted in victory in the courts
has entitled every German aviator to a fuel tax rebate on all
flying for business related activities, including corporate
flying, commercial flight training and aerial work. Private
pleasure flying is not eligible.
AOPA-Germany based its
claim on a European Court judgement dating back to June 1999
when the airline Braathens challenged the Swedish imposition of
an environmental tax on aviation over and above EC-harmonised
levels. The court ruled that Sweden's action was incompatible
with EC tax harmonisation.
The court's judgement said:
"The obligation imposed by Article 8(1)(b) of Directive 92/81 to
exempt from the harmonised excise duty mineral oils supplied for
use as fuel for the purpose of air navigation other than private
pleasure flying may be relied on by individuals in proceedings
before national courts in order to contest national rules that
are incompatible with that obligation."
ruling, AOPA-Germany's lawyer and tax expert Prof. Gustav Real
went to court of defend a pilot who flies a rented Mooney for
both private and business purposes, and who had had his claim
for a fuel tax rebate refused by German customs. The pilot won
the case, and the pilot had his entire rebate claim paid in full.
the basis of this ruling, AOPA-Germany is promoting claims for
rebates for all business-related flights, and is also lobbying
politicians to extend the concession to private flying. Although
Customs lost the case, they have continued to reject
applications for a refund, so it is unlikely that tax rebates
will be paid out unless pilots take the matter to court. The EU
legislation is in conflict with German national law, which the
tax authorities consider themselves to be bound by.
Court directive defines private pleasure flying as: 'The use of
aircraft by its owner or the natural or legal person who enjoys
its use either through hire or through any other means, for
other than commercial purposes and in particular other than for
the carriage of passengers or goods or for the supply of
services for consideration or for the purposes of public
Several other European AOPAs are now
consulting with tax experts in their own countries to see if
similar tax rebates can be won. More details will follow as they
EC promises better future for GA
The European Commission has produced a bold new report which
seems to show that it understands general aviation, sees why it
is suffering and intends to decrease the pressure of the
regulatory boot on the industry's neck.
titled 'An agenda for sustainable future in general and business
aviation,' gives real cause for optimism that the EC intends to
remove some of the unnecessary burdens under which the industry
suffers. It speaks of the need for GA, and the requirement for a
level of regulation suited to the industry. It will begin by
compiling for the first time realistic data on GA's contribution
in Europe, its effects and its needs.
The report is the
result of a meeting between IAOPA representatives and EC
Aviation Commissioner Daniel Calleja Crespo in 2006, which was
attended by IAOPA president Phil Boyer, chairman John Sheehan
and UK chief executive Martin Robinson. At that meeting Mr
Calleja promised a 'white paper' dedicated to the industry.
resulting report contains a lot of positive notes for GA. Says
Martin Robinson: "There's a real sense that the EC understands
the problems and has the will to address them. This could be the
beginning of a tremendously important process of revitalization
for GA, and the Commission is to be commended on its initiative."
Vice President and Transport Commissioner Jacques Barot said on
publication of the report: "We fully recognise the value of
non-commercial aviation and intend to work with this sector in
Europe, as it is a large source of employment, expertise,
technology and revenues."
Apart from calling for
proportionate rulemaking, the report takes up the issue of EC
insurance requirements, where the one-size-fits-all approach has
had a devastating effect on the air display sector. The EC will
submit a report on insurance to the European Parliament by April
The report gives comparative statistics which
indicate that GA aircraft outnumber commercial aircraft by ten
to one, and while 30,000 airports are served by commercial
connections, 100,000 are used by GA. "European aerial works
companies provide high-value specialised services, both in the
Community and third countries," it says. "Recreational and sport
aviation is one of the big sources of qualified aviation staff
for airlines and supporting services. Many of the trainee pilots
and engineers, after building the number of their hours in the
air or in the hangar, subsequently move to work in the airline
industry. Aero clubs and air sports organisations promote
individual's qualities, technical knowledge and aeronautical
skills, especially amongst the young citizens of the European
Union, raising their interest in the highly demanding and
motivating air sports and future careers in commercial aviation
or aeronautical research and development."
version of this story can be read in the February 2008 issue of
General Aviation magazine on www.iaopa-eur.org.
See page 5.
8.33 kHz breakthrough
IAOPA has won significant concessions on the spread of 8.33 kHz
radio with an agreement across Europe that they will not be
mandated below FL195 until at least 2013 and possibly later.
claims there aren't enough frequencies to go round and is
demanding that every aircraft re-equip with 8.33 kHz-spaced
radios, a demand that is estimated to cost the European GA
industry some 2 billion Euros. But IAOPA has demonstrated that
this expenditure would be unnecessary if Europe got its act
together on the existing frequencies. At the moment frequencies
are allocated by individual countries, with each VHF frequency
having an exclusive zone of up to 300nm around it. Huge numbers
of frequencies have been allocated but are virtually or
completely unused. IAOPA has pointed out that if the 27
frequency allocation offices in Europe were replaced by two
people in Brussels, far better use could be made of the
spectrum. The 27 offices disagree.
Michael Erb, managing
director of AOPA Germany and a doctor of economics, has produced
a technical paper showing the massive wastage in the current
system. Martin Robinson says: "This is an excellent paper which
shows there is plenty of capacity in Europe without 8.33 kHz.
Eurocontrol have tried to ignore this paper so we have taken it
to the European Commission, who asked Eurocontrol for an
explanation. Eurocontrol tried to blind them with science, but
the Commission has requested a full study and analysis. Their
request seeks 'further information from Eurocontrol on how the
current utilisation of the band could be assessed, and the
potential gains which might be expected from improved practices.
The outcome would provide the proper basis for a decision on the
expansion of the newly adopted Regulation to the airspace below
"At a meeting in December I was able to ask the
chairman of the EC's Industry Consultation Body if the ICB
endorsed the EC's letter to Eurocontrol, and in effect they have
no alternative but to do so. Eurocontrol is now bound to carry
out the request. The earliest 8.33 kHz can now be mandated is
2013, and it may take longer."
Dr Erb adds: "This is
a welcome development that will potentially save European
general aviation many millions of Euros. A well crafted
Europe-wide frequency utilization plan should easily prevent
users of the lower airspace from having to re-equip with radios
with channel spacing less than the existing 25 mHz."
Saving a lifesaver
AOPA-UK is seeking the help of all European AOPAs to help save
Britain's IMC rating, which is threatened by EASA's takeover of
flight crew licensing.
The IMC rating is designed to get
low-time private pilots out of trouble should they inadvertently
encounter bad weather. Its syllabus, written by AOPA-UK more
than 30 years ago, provides for 15 hours of flight training
under instrument conditions and a good enough working knowledge
of radio aids to get an aircraft safely onto the ground. Even
though the IMC rating confers no special privileges on the
holder, more than 25,000 people have undertaken the course,
including many from outside the UK who realised the safety
benefits. The fears of some professional pilots who originally
thought it would encourage unqualified people to fly in IMC have
been proved groundless, and the IMC rating is credited with
saving many lives. The British government, the Civil Aviation
Authority, and the British Airline Pilots Association support
the IMC rating without reservation.
But EASA's FCL-001
committee, which has been deciding which national ratings to
adopt across Europe, is virtually unanimously opposed to the IMC
rating, with members saying that the only suitable qualification
for flying in IMC is an Instrument Rating. AOPA-UK believes they
have misunderstood the IMC rating, which does not allow the
holder to fly on airways – it simply gets him out of trouble.
EASA is sympathetic and has given the UK four years in which to
explain the situation to the rest of Europe.
At the next
Regional Meeting in April, AOPA-UK will be asking each country
to lobby its national authority in favour of the IMC rating. It
is also pursuing the issue with the European Commission, with
EASA directly, and with other bodies.
Danish VAT reprieve
The Danes will continue to levy VAT on aircraft at zero percent
at least until the end of 2008 and possibly longer following a
lobbying campaign involving AOPA-Denmark.
aircraft through Denmark has become big business since the VAT
anomaly was identified, and one company in particular – Opmas –
has created an industry from it. Many hundreds of aircraft have
been brought into the EC through Denmark, then moved on to other
countries as VAT-paid. Tax authorities outside Denmark have
confirmed that the system is wholly legal.
The EC has
been pressuring Demark to raise the VAT rate on aircraft to 25
percent, but the lobbying campaign has stressed that Denmark's
GA industry, which thrives on zero-rate VAT imports, would be
devastated by the change. On Wednesday February 20th the Danish
tax minister presented the latest draft of a VAT law amendment
in Denmark which postpones any change until January 1st, 2009.
Runghold, CEO of Opmas, says: "We have very good reason to
believe the law change will be postponed even further to January
1st 2010 but we will know for sure in the coming weeks. It seems
that our lobbying efforts have been fruitful. The Danish GA
trade industry organisation, of which I am chairman, AOPA and
several other parties with an interest in these matters have
worked very hard on several fronts to achieve this. We are very
happy that it seems we have been effective."
Pedersen of AOPA-Denmark says: "This is good news for all
European aircraft owners who can still buy their aircraft in
Denmark free of VAT. We have uncovered some very fundamental
competition problems in the Government's first proposal that
make it illegal in relation to EU law. This needs to be resolved
and we therefore believe that we can push the date back even
further, or maybe avoid it entirely."
IAOPA Europe, together with the FAI, is planning a Peace Rally
to the Middle East in September. The route will include visits
to tourist attractions like Masada – the lowest strip on the
globe at 1,250 feet below sea level – in Israel, Petra in
Jordan, and the Valley of the Kings and the pyramids in Egypt.
Rally will take in 18 countries, runs from September 1st to 15th
and will involve participants from Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey
and Greece as well as from many European countries. Full details
have yet to be finalised, but you can keep up with the details
on the website www.airshow.lu
– click on 'Rally'.
AOPA Israel has a new website
address at www.aopa.org.il,
with an English section including information about flying to
Israel and around the country. The association has recently
completed refurbishing its offices in Herzliya Airport, the
biggest general aviation hub in Israel, located 10km north of
Tel Aviv and very near the coast. All AOPA members are invited
to visit. Opening hours can be found on the English section of
AOPA Israel had its annual general assembly
meeting on February 11th and also held its biannual election to
appoint a new managing board. Five of the nine board members are
new faces. Names and contact details could be found on the
Munich – can you help?
AOPA-Germany is fighting to save Munich's Fuerstenfeldbruck
airport for GA and is seeking help from all AOPA members to put
pressure on the state president.
Fuerstenfeldbruck is a
former military airfield which the Bavarian parliament wants to
devote to unspecified "non aeronautical" use. But its loss would
effectively exclude GA from the Munich area. Munich's main
airport, Franz Josef Strauss, is closed to GA, as is a secondary
airport at Oberpfaffenhofen. An alternative aerodrome called
Jesenwang has a runway only 408 metres long.
petition to Bavarian state president Gunther Beckstein,
AOPA-Germany points out that loss of the airport would fly in
the face of the European Commission's agenda for a sustainable
future for general aviation, and would isolate Munich as far as
business aviation was concerned.
If any AOPA member has
business in the Munich area or needs to travel there, please
write to Beckstein pointing out that Fuerstenfeldbruck's closure
would be Munich's loss. The address is:
Herrn Dr. Günther Beckstein
+49 89 29 40 44
Sweden investigates GA datalink
AOPA-Sweden, together with other GA associations, is working
closely with the Swedish Air navigation service provider LFV on
a project for GA datalink communications.
At the start of
this year LFV launched a project called 'Datalink services for
General Aviation' which aims to improve services to GA airspace
users by establishing digital communication between aircraft and
air traffic control.
The first phase of the project will
assess the feasibility of implementing data-link services for
the GA sector and will establish which services are of most
benefit to airspace users and ATC.
LFV believes such a
system will improve safety for all airspace users, while
AOPA-Sweden recognises that such datalink services would help to
guarantee GA access to controlled airspace.
will be on three groups of services:
&bull New means of
surveillance, including improved surveillance coverage.
Flight information services (weather, NOTAM etc.)
means of sharing information between airspace users.
first phase of the project will be completed during 2008.
In memoriam – Jack Meinl
Julius 'Jack' Meinl, one of Austria's most experienced pilots
and long-standing president of AOPA Austria, passed away on 4th
January 2008. Jack, born on October 27th 1930, got his first
flying lessons in the 1940s in a British Royal Air Force Tiger
Moth – an aircraft which his son arranged for him to fly on his
last birthday. When he returned to Austria in 1953 to take over
the presidency of the family-owned coffee enterprise Jack
started using his aircraft for business trips all over Europe.
In the LORAN era Jack Meinl crossed the Atlantic in his Turbo
Commander, and he brought the same high standards to general
aviation that he demanded in his company. His technical skills
and knowledge often surpassed those of experienced mechanics,
and he was able to set up and successfully develop his own
maintenance company, Gate V.
Jack Meinl never believed
blindly in authority. He was a true liberal, his mind always
open to new ideas. Adventure attracted him. He flew his first
round-the-world flight in a Bombardier aircraft, landing on tiny
atolls in the Pacific or the strip in front of the Wichita
production line. Air rallies were one of his passions, and he
combined his aerial adventures with his business, enjoying
Julius Meinl Coffee on the shores of Lake Baikal or in
Uzbekistan, negotiating in Saudi Arabia in a tent with camel
meat roasting on a spit, and visiting with coffee producers in
Brazil. And a trip to Julius Meinl at his restaurant in Vienna's
Graben was always a treat.
Jack Meinl, co-founder of
AOPA-Austria and its president for more than 30 years, rarely
missed a World Assembly or Regional Meeting. His advice was
respected; his interventions on the national or European level
were effective and his keen humour illuminated general aviation.
The values he espoused, his openness and his desire for
adventure encouraged others to look and think far beyond the
horizon. – Ruedi Gerber, IAOPA Vice President for Europe
Greece welcomes GA!
Greece, which has in the past has a reputation for being one of
the most difficult countries in Europe through which to fly, is
throwing open its airspace to welcome GA for 'Icarus 2008', the
First International Athens Aero Expo in June.
will be exempt from handling charges at all Greek airports in
June, while Tatoi Airfield (LGTT) outside Athens, where the Expo
is being held, will have no landing fees, no PPR requirement, no
airport taxes and cheap fuel. The Expo coincides with the 24th
IAOPA World Assembly, where representatives of 66 AOPAs
worldwide meet to discuss common issues.
Key speakers at
the World Assembly will be David McMillan, Director General of
Eurocontrol, Daniel Calleja, EC transport commissioner, Karsten
Theil, Regional Director of ICAO, IAOPA President Phil Boyer,
and Bruce Landsberg, Executive Director of the Air Safety
Foundation. Delegates have registered from all over the world.
AOPA Pakistan will be attending their first World Assembly,
Japan and Lebanon are sending three delegates, and non-AOPA
countries like Nigeria are sending observers.
and the Athens World Assembly have come about almost wholly
because of the drive and commitment of AOPA-Greece executive
Yiouli Kalafati, who has worked tirelessly to convince the Greek
authorities that their country could benefit hugely by welcoming
GA. Good and reliable weather and the attractions of the Aegean
Islands make Greece a perfect destination for European general
aviation, and Yiouli has convinced the Greek Ministry of Tourism
Development, the Hellenic Air Force and other important bodies
that restrictions on GA should be relaxed. She has also
attracted major sponsors for the Athens Expo, including Aegean
Airlines, Air BP, Olympic Airways and the Greek National Tourism
Organisation. As well as providing fuel at a five percent
discount, Air BP is sponsoring GA initiation flights for members
of the public.
Yiouli says: "The European South is one of
the fastest-growing aviation markets because of excellent
weather, EU enlargement and dynamically growing economies. The
world of aviation now has an opportunity to introduce itself and
explore the untapped potential of the region while paying a
visit to Athens, at the crossroads between East and West, a
bridge to the Middle East and the most important economic hub in
the south eastern Mediterranean."
president of IAOPA, issues a personal invitation to all AOPA
members. "Come and visit the land of Icarus, where aviation was
born," he says.
Olympic Airways and Aegean Airlines
are offering discounts on international and domestic flights to
AOPA members during the Expo. Tatoi airfield is located 15 km
north of downtown Athens and has excellent road and rail
connections. It has a 5,800-ft tarmac runway, and all landing
and parking charges are waived from June 6th to 16th.
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