Air Transport World

Package deal.(European Commission regulates European airports)

AFTER ALMOST A DECADE OF LOBBYING, COMPLAINING AND pleading to the European Commission about the need to balance the industry value chain and address the confrontation between a fully deregulated sector and its monopolistic providers, Europe's airlines, more specifically its network and leisure carriers, got their wish granted earlier this year--at least partially.

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At the end of January, the Commission adopted the so-called Airport Package consisting of three initiatives aimed at bringing about a new regulatory basis for airline/airport relationships in the 27 member states. These comprise a proposal for a directive on airport charges; a communication on airport capacity, efficiency and safety in Europe, and a report on the implementation of the present ground handling directive. The EC originally planned to incorporate new rules on allocation of slots at airports, which have been under review for several years, but these have been delayed.

According to IATA, Europe is home to 15 of the world's 25 most expensive airports, including Paris Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt and Athens. Too many EU airports "are moving in the wrong direction with double-digit increases," states IATA DG and CEO Giovanni Bisignani. "Look at London Heathrow, where we could face a 50% increase between 2008 and 2013, or France, where the government approved a 27% increase in charges at [CDG] for 2006-10. …

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