Region V: Europe

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British Parliamentarian Visits NBAA on Fact-Finding Mission

July 22, 2011

British Conservative Party member and European Parliamentarian Jacqueline Foster visited NBAA's offices July 21 as part of a fact-finding mission about business aviation in the U.S. Ms. Foster, who also is the conservative party spokesperson on the EU Transport & Tourism Committee, discussed some of the major issues affecting business aviation in North America and Europe with Ed Bolen, President & CEO, Lisa Piccione, SVP, Government Affairs and Doug Carr, VP of safety, security and regulation.

Foster, who served a single five-year term in the European Parliament from 1999 until 2004, and was reelected in 2009, also has an extensive aviation background, having worked for a major airline and served as a consultant and advisor in Brussels to the aviation, aerospace and defense industries. She also is a member of both the Royal Aeronautical Society – Brussels Branch and European Aviation Club in Brussels.

Of most importance to NBAA and its membership is that Foster's stance on several important issues affecting business aviation pairs well with the positions taken internationally by NBAA and much of the world's business aviation community.

"It's clear that she brings valuable first hand knowledge of aviation and our issues to her role as a member of the European Parliament," Carr said, adding that among the issues discussed was the European Union's planned emissions trading system [ETS] and how it will apply to non-EU aircraft. "She is not in agreement with the [EU-ETS] structure that has been proposed and put in place in Europe as it relates to applying that scheme to foreign operators," Carr said.

Another issue Foster discussed with NBAA was the problem of declining slot availability for business aircraft at many smaller European airports.

"Over the past 15 to 20 years, we've seen the scheduled air carriers slowly work their way into airports that general aviation relies upon, to a point where those airports now needs slots," Carr said. "When the airport allocates those slots, business aviation's use of the airport often hasn't been recognized. So we need to protect our airports for business aviation. Progress on this issue is expected to continue," Carr said.

Overall, he added, the meeting led to a positive dialogue and understanding on these issues and more.

"These meetings are important for future activity," Carr said. "Knowing Mrs. Foster's interest in aviation and her role in the European Parliament will help us as we address these issues going forward."