Aerospace in 1991: Changes in Europe
Aerospace in 1991 saw some changes in Europe. Meanwhile, the European Community was hard at work in an effort to liberalize the air transport industry in Europe and to create a common policy consistent with the economic integration of EC members that was scheduled to occur in 1992. The main proposals adopted by the EC Commission were intended to accomplish the following by 1993: provide airlines with greater freedom to set fares, with complete freedom permitted in 1996; permit airlines of member states to fly anywhere within the Community, so that Lufthansa could offer service between two French cities, for example; and institute common licensing criteria for airlines. Although the EC plan would foster more competition and presumably yield lower fares, EC officials said it was not like deregulation in the United States because it would still require airlines to provide service where necessary and would maintain fair standards of competition.
As the 1992 deadline neared, major European lines like British Airways, KLM, Sabena, and others were reorganizing by trimming costs, revamping their route networks, and seeking other international partners. In the case of Sabena, management sought alliances with new partners such as British Airways and KLM, each of which has a 20 percent stake in the Belgian-based carrier. Sabena was also developing its own version of a hub-and-spoke system, maintaining most of its traditional routes between Brussels and other major cities while searching out ‘under-served’ European cities to feed into its Brussels hub. The changes in Europe as it concerns aerospace in 1991 was intended to foster economic development and healthy competition while at the same time controlling certain activities within the Zone such as essential services with a view to serving the public better although it could not be compared with the deregulation in the United States at the time.
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