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IP/07/78

Brussels, 24th January 2007

Commission proposes a landmark regulatory package for airports

The European Commission has today adopted an "airport package" consisting of three key initiatives: 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 groundhandling directive. The package focuses on the role of airports in the further development and competitiveness of the European internal aviation market and will mark the future of airport regulation in Europe by ensuring regulatory convergence between Member States.

Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot, in charge of transport said: "In compliance with the Lisbon agenda objectives, Europe's airports have a vital role to play as a key driver for ensuring the economic and social competitiveness of Europe. Until now European airports have been faced with diverse regulatory, commercial and external challenges regarding issues such as capacity, financing and the environment. The aim of these new measures is to offer a common set of rules to be applied and enforced uniformly throughout Europe." "Much deliberation, thought and consultation has gone into preparing this package and I truly believe that it represents a milestone in the formation of a pan-European regulatory framework for European airports", he added.

The ambitious proposal for a directive on airport charges will re-define the relationship between airport operators and airport users by requiring total transparency, user-consultation and the application of the principle of non-discrimination when calculating charges levied on users. Moreover, it will create a strong, independent national authority to arbitrate and settle disputes in order to achieve a speedy resolution.

The communication on airport capacity, efficiency and safety in Europe provides a comprehensive action plan detailing a coherent strategy for responsibly tackling congestion at European airports. The five principal measures highlighted that aim to accommodate traffic growth in an environmentally sustainable manner are: to optimise the use of existing capacity; to provide a coherent approach to air safety operations at aerodromes; to promote "co-modality"; to improve the environmental capacity of airports and the planning framework of new airport infrastructure; and to develop and implement cost efficient technological solutions.

The first report on the implementation of the groundhandling directive demonstrates the positive effects that the initial phase of liberalisation has had on opening up access to groundhandling markets at European airports to competition and opens the door for a debate as to the next steps that need to be taken.
Further information on the airport package is available on:

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air_portal/airports/index_en.htm


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