European Commission - Press release
Aviation: the Commission addresses a reasoned opinion to Belgium
Brussels, 27 October 2011 The European Commission has today adopted a reasoned opinion against Belgium which has not yet notified the unit rates of its airports' terminal charges for 2010 and 2011. Pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1794/2006, this notification is required for airports with over 50 000 commercial operations per year.
The EU rules
Regulation (EC) No 1794/2006 provides for a common charging system for air navigation services and requires Member States to establish a unit rate for terminal charges from 1 January 2010. This applies to all airports with over 50 000 commercial operations per year.
Furthermore, the Regulation requires that this unit rate be subject to prior consultation with airline representatives. Documentation on the calculation methods should be sent to the Commission three weeks before this consultation.
The reason for today's action
Belgium, which has at least one airport concerned by the Regulation, should have notified the Commission after 2010 of its unit rate for terminal air navigation services, calculated in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation, for 2010 and 2011. To date Belgium has still not given this notification, despite its repeated undertakings to comply with its obligations.
The practical effect of non-implementation
In practice, a unit rate that is particularly high with regard to the size of Belgian airspace has been imposed on airlines, which were not consulted and did not have an opportunity to negotiate it.
The Regulation's aim is to halve the unit cost of flights. Over and above the infringement, the non-notification of rates prevents the Commission from checking the extent to which Belgium is contributing to the performance targets.