European Commission - Press release
Air transport: Commission requests Austria, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg to comply with rules on airport charges
Brussels, 24 November 2011 - The European Commission has today requested Austria, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg to adopt national legislation to implement EU rules to ensure that airport charges are transparent and non-discriminatory. The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. If these Member States fail to inform the Commission within two months of what measures they have taken to ensure full compliance with the law, the Commission could refer the case to the EU Court of Justice.
The EU rules
The airport charges directive , adopted in March 2009, requires Member States to put in place laws to ensure that airport charges levied on airlines at the main EU airports are calculated in accordance with the principles of transparency, consultation and non-discrimination as set out in policies agreed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). These charges are paid by airlines for the use of airport runways and include passenger charges to cover the cost of providing airport terminal infrastructure. Airport charges make up a significant portion of airlines' costs and are ultimately borne by the travelling public as they are included in the price of a ticket. The directive states that airports must consult airlines over their charges and provide information as to the costs incurred in providing the services for which these charges are payable. In addition, Member States are obliged to designate an independent authority with the power to adjudicate in disputes over charges involving airports and airlines.
The reason for today's action
Austria, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg have failed to notify the Commission of the necessary national laws they have put in place for this directive, although they were required to do so by 15 March 2011.
To date, 19 Member States have indicated full transposition of the directive, whilst the transposition process is not yet complete in four Member States. The Commission is currently assessing the national laws which have been notified to ensure that they meet the standards set out in the directive.
The practical effect of non-implementation
Failing to properly implement the directive could mean that passengers are paying more than they should for air travel, both within the EU and for long-haul destinations departing from EU airports.
More information on infringement procedures:
Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)
Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)