Europe Region Blog
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20 July 2018

Did you know you pay a fee to fly over each country in Europe?

IATA works hard to help airlines keep airfares low, and that means challenging the fees charged by European air traffic control monopolies for aircraft to overfly each country. 

In 2019 is is estimated that these cases will amount to nearly EUR7.3 billion. 

Twice a year, IATA meets in Brussels with all 28 EU Member States plus 12 neighboring States to advocate for lower costs and better services. Our advocacy activities are monitored by the IATA governing board, and in 2018 our efforts in Europe saved more than EUR200 million.

Air traffic control companies are monopoly service providers, meaning they lack normal efficiency incentives like those present in businesses with competitors.

The European Commission understands this and regulates air traffic control costs and services by means of a European law. This law requires that airlines have the opportunity to be consulted every year before fees are finalized.  A key partner in managing the consultation is Eurocontrol, a European intergovernmental organization which, for this issue, manages the complex task of gathering all the information on charges and services required for the dialogue with Member States. It is precisely on this aspect that IATA uses its global knowledge and expertise to push for better value-for-money.

IATA does not focus solely on the overflight charge, the objective is first and foremost ensuring that control organizations deliver the needed safety and airspace capacity so that airlines can plan and perform flights. 

For Rafael Schvartzman, IATA Regional Vice President for Europe: “IATA works closely with the European Commission, Member States and regulators to ensure that the fees we pay for overflight are fair.  We also encourage that service providers have proper plans and sufficient funds to implement new technologies and employ the specialist staff needed to provide the capacity airlines need both now and in the future.” This would also help reduce air traffic control delays that have already doubled this year compared to 2017, and will most likely be the source of many headaches for both passengers and airlines in the coming weeks and months.

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