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State Aid

Latest update 14 December 2016

Overview

Please see the download section on the top right hand corner of this page to read the overview of this section and scroll down the page to read the latest updates on ERA's activities and position. 

ERA’s Position

ERA calls for a clear EU strategy and framework that focuses on EU regions and their socio-economic development. State aid is an important, and in some geographic locations, critical aspect of the EU transports strategy, without which the very survival of some regional areas would be jeopardised. ERA believes that transparency is of the utmost importance in ensuring free competition. The current state aid guidelines do not explicitly state how transparency should be attained. In any case, state aid must not interfere with the market, distort competition or lead to an imbalance between modes.

ERA would welcome a revision of the rules if this review provides the following:
• Simplification and increased transparency (at all EU airports, irrespective of size/volume of passengers)
• More fair and consistent enforcement of State aid rules to airports and airlines
• Careful consideration for regional, remote and/or smaller airports.
• Rules to avoid distortion of competition between airports, and between airlines located in the same catchment area
• A simple, effective and expeditious complaint handling process that allows operators or airports to challenge possible breaches of the guideline. In order to allow operators to assess whether breaches are taking place it is essential that they have access to data on costs and charges being levied at airports.

Furthermore, ERA is concerned that aviation infrastructure has been, to a large extent, excluded from TEN-T funding. Any future revision of the guidelines should ensure the inclusion of aviation in all opportunities for funding, fairly and equally as with other modes of transport
 

Update

Latest update 21/11/2017: On 2 December 2016, a speaker from ACI-Europe shared the latest developments on EU State Aid legislation with the ERA Industry Affairs Group (IAG).
The most important update is the proposal, issued by the Commission, for a General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER), a piece of legislation aimed at simplifying the rules and reduce unnecessary administrative burden on airports benefitting from state aid.
The GBER legislation identifies situations where airports are exempted from the notification obligations, bearing in mind that compliance with applicable state aid rules is still necessary. More specifically, according to the proposal, investment aid for airports with <3mppa is not required subject to certain conditions. The practical impact of this is still unclear as airports already had no formal obligation to notify before.
It is also worth noting that, according to GBER, airports with a traffic volume of less than 150,000 passengers per annum and with another airport within 100km / 60 min travel, do not need to notify. According to ACI-Europe’s estimates, 106 commercial services airports in Europe would have been covered by the notification exemptions in 2015.

Papers

All associated papers are available by clicking on the Downloads button on this page.

Contact

For further assistance please contact policy.technical@eraa.org