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EC issues Staff Working Documents

The EC has issued its evaluation of Regulation 1008/2008 (the Air Services Regulation) and the Airport Charges Directive 2009/12/EC. The evaluations – called Staff Working Documents – have been long awaited by the industry and the conclusions of which are welcomed by ERA.  

Besides bringing the EU added value by removing barriers to competition, increasing the number of flights, allowing the entry of new market operators and improving air connectivity in Europe, the EC concludes that improvement is needed in three priority areas of the Air Services Regulation: operating licence provisions, O&C provisions (including home base) and traffic distribution rules. Other areas where change needs to be considered are dry and wet leasing ("the existing prior approval for intra-EEA dry and wet leasing hinders the efficiency of airlines’ operations unnecessarily"), price transparency and PSO rules (notions are very general and the contracts are perceived as complex procedures). The full text of the Staff Working Document can be reached through the following link, while the executive summary of the evaluation is available here.

The Airport Charges Directive in its current state is seen as ineffective, only dealing with the procedural aspects for setting airport charges and not protecting airlines and their passengers from airports, which according to airline industry’s view, might misuse their market power. ERA, alongside with other airline associations is therefore of the opinion of air carriers’ community: that the directive should be revised, introducing stronger rules on consultation, transparent charging system, independent oversight and a mechanism to identify and regulate airports. Thus, the fact that the European Commission's own evaluation finds shortcomings in several areas, concluding that the current framework needs to be reformed, is welcomed by ERA. The executive summary of the document is accessible here.