Air Transport World

ERA members discuss European liberalization.

Rotterdam--Members of the European Regional Airlines Organization (ERA) came together here for two days for their annual general meeting with a wary eye on how the current trend towards liberalization of routes and fares among the big carriers will affect them. General feeling is that although there may be additional opportunities for the regionals under a relaxed regime, there could be disadvantages too--notably the majors moving on to regional routes with expensive new equipment, the under-utilization of which would be subsidized from profits on their main lines.

Other subjects which worry the membership--which embraces manufacturers and airports as well as airlines--include the level of Eurocontrol charges, the availability of slots for regionals at airports, and the amount of time allocated at the meeting for manufacturers' presentations. "Assessment meetings" were held as part of the AGM program on the Fairchild Metroliner, the BAe Jetstream 31 and the de Havilland Dash 8. As a result of protests this section is almost certain to be reduced when ERA meets for its next AGM in Munich in October. In the meantime, there is to be another ERA meeting at Manchester airport in the spring, and the association will also have a presence at the Hanover air show.

Membership of ERA, as reported by Secretary General Robert Bonhoff, stands at 44, compared with 47 at the last AGM. Membership is composed as follows (last year's figures in parentheses): aircraft operators, 12 (16); manufacturers and related bodies, 16 (15), airports, 11 (12), others, 5 (4). Six operators left during the year, but two more joined. One of the departures left when it ceased trading due to the withdrawal of bank credits, one moved into IATA membership, one had its overall control taken over by a state-controlled trunk carrier, one cited lack of time for participation, one cited "high fees and lack of time," and one gave no reason. …

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