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Airlines join forces to push EU to help lower their costs

[BRUSSELS] Europe's five largest airlines set aside their differences on Wednesday to urge the European Union to do more to lower airport costs and taxes.

The airlines urged the European Commission - the EU executive - to lower security charges, remove passenger and "unreasonable" environmental taxes and ensure air-traffic control strikes did not do too much damage to their business.

The initiative brought together the chief executives of Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, British Airways owner International Airlines Group and low-cost airlines Ryanair and Easyjet.

"It's a historic day for European aviation because it's the first time the five of us have met together," said Michael O'Leary, Chief Executive of budget airline Ryanair, at a press conference in Brussels.

The EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc is due to unveil a series of measures later this year to boost the competitiveness of the aviation sector.

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The airlines have not always seen eye to eye, with IAG leaving the Association of European Airlines over differences in attitudes towards competition from Gulf carriers and joining a low-cost association instead.

But on Wednesday, the five said they would look at setting up a new grouping to lobby for airline interests in Brussels.

REUTERS

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