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Aviation: the Commission addresses a reasoned opinion to Belgium

Commission Européenne - IP/11/1252   27/10/2011

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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.

Next step

The reasoned opinion, which constitutes the second stage in the infringement procedure, requires Belgium to respond within two months, after which the matter may be referred to the Court of Justice.

Further information:

MEMO/11/739

Contacts:

Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)

Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)


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