Political strategies! What do we want?
A comment by Ulrich Stockmann (retired MdB and MEP)
It is good for every association if its members can pursue their core business undisturbed and the association itself passes on all current information and otherwise has sufficient time for the organisation of cohesion and internal services. If it weren't for the policy that continuously changes the framework conditions for our actions, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. For some time now, we have been in intensive discussions with political decision-makers at regional, national and European level, together with other decentralised air transport associations such as the AOPA and the IDRF.
A successful start into the new year 2018 was the 5th lunch debate in the European Parliament together with the AOPA and the IDRF. Of course, on such occasions, we also want to play an active role in shaping the framework conditions for decentralized air traffic. And we have good transport policy reasons for this!
Every responsible politician must want the sustainable optimisation of the overall transport system. And in this overall transport system, decentralised air transport will play an increasingly important role if we consider future mobility needs and the accessibility of non-urban regions.
The European Commission demands that 90% of travellers in Europe reach their destination in four hours. This is only possible with a functioning, Europe-wide network of decentralised air traffic. We should gradually transform this objective into a "right to mobility" in political terms.
The political error of reasoning is, and Deutsche Bank's studies have contributed significantly to this, that regional airports are isolated and addressed exclusively from a business management perspective, excluding aspects of services of general interest. We think from the point of view of the decentralised air traffic network, which is systemically relevant for an overall traffic concept. The strategic importance and maintenance of this network should be recognised as "in the federal interest" in a future air traffic concept of the Federal Government.
In order to be better able to counter the repeated and generalised individual examples of waste of public funds, we must launch an efficiency campaign through the exchange of "best practice" examples.
At the same time, we should actively discuss alternative financing options for regional airports and landing sites publicly, such as a system levy for fully coordinated airports.
There are other demands we have on politicians:
> We need a German, even European collection of data from decentralised and general aviation. After all, only sound facts are the prerequisite for any appropriate political decision.
> We need a practical, efficient and cost-effective implementation of technical possibilities to present the traffic situation for ALL groups participating in air traffic (from unmanned aircraft, to leisure air traffic to scheduled traffic) for use in aircraft, airfield and air traffic control services.
> We want to accelerate the EASA program to simplify "performance-based safety rules".
Of course it is cheaper not only to demand but also to offer offers for a future mobility strategy. We could offer our own considerations on "airport systems" as a possibility for the division of labour between airports:
> ... for necessary flights of general interest,
> ... to relieve fully coordinated airports and enable them to optimise their profits,
> ... as an alternative to flights if the "critical infrastructure" (international airports) fails,
> ... as a development and testing platform for the development of future mobility and drive concepts.
And if we are seriously asked, then we should not be afraid to talk about relaunching regional transport on our decentralised air transport network.
Ulrich Stockmann, May 2018