The airline members of the Airline International Representation in Europe (AIRE) agree with the conclusions of a new European Commission’s report about airport charges that was released last week.
The document finds that the possibilities persist for some airports to extract prices and terms that would otherwise not be achieved in a competitive market.
Where EU Member States have undertaken a detailed analysis, significant market power was proven to be at work at four major airports in Europe, after which national authorities decided to impose ex-ante regulation to contain the risk of potential misuse.
If a regulation at EU level would be established on airports, lower airport charges would be passed through to passengers by competing airlines.
In their everyday dealing with airports, airlines are constantly confronted with growing evidence of the misuse of significant market power by EU airports: excessive charging and the ongoing increase of charges across the EU, the implementation of the dual till system, cross-subsidization between airports in a network concept as well as the lack of proper consultation. The current Airport Charges Directive has indeed not provided any safeguard to mitigate the potential abuse of airports’ market power.
An economic regulation has been the instrument since years to mitigate the monopolistic behaviour of air navigation service providers, another key infrastructure in aviation. Similarly, airports with significant market power should be subject to a new economic regulation at EU level.
Sylviane Lust, AIRE Director General, concluded: “We call upon the European institutions to finally address a gap in the process of establishing airport charges and to start working towards an EU economic regulation of airports with significant market power.”
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