Brussels, 24 October 2012
Air transport: Commission refers Poland to the Court of Justice on airport charges
The European Commission has decided to refer Poland to the European Court of Justice for failure to implement common rules on airport charges. The deadline for implementation was 15 March 2011. In accordance with the Lisbon Treaty, the Commission will ask the Court to impose a daily penalty payment of € 75002.88 on Poland until the adoption of national measures.
Directive 2009/12/EC aims at establishing a common framework regulating the essential features of airport charges and basic requirements in the relationship between airport managing bodies and airlines. The directive applies to airports with an annual traffic over five million passengers. Airport charges are fees airlines pay for the use of infrastructure and services related, in particular, to take-off and landing and processing of passengers. The directive requires Member States to ensure that, wherever possible, changes to the system or the level of airport charges are made in agreement between the airport and airlines using the airport. To this end, airport managing bodies should hold consultations with airlines, based on a transparent information exchange between the two parties. This is to ensure that airport charges are non-discriminatory and related to the level of services provided by the airport.
The Commission had requested Poland on 18 May 2011 and on 22 March 2012 to take action to ensure compliance with the directive. Thus far Poland has not taken the measures relating to the directive which it was required to implement and has failed to notify the Commission of any such measures.
Failure to implement the directive means that Poland has not adhered to the common framework regulating the way airport charges are set. This affects not only Polish airlines, but also other European and international airlines and can entail an economic harm. Importantly, it 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.
Current figures on infringements in general can be found at:
On the October infringement package decisions, see MEMO/12/794.
On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12.