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MEPs agree common charge system for EU airports


24 Oct 2008



MEPs agree common charge system for EU airports

Common principles for levying charges at Community airports are set out in a second-reading report adopted by the European Parliament on a directive to prevent individual airports abusing a dominant position on the market. MEPs want the rules to apply to airports with an annual throughput of over five million passengers per year, whereas the Commission had proposed one million.

Safeguarding consumer interests  
At Parliament's request, the proposal also provides for mechanisms for consulting airport users, and for resolving disputes between users and airports. MEPs say these are necessary to establish a level playing field for economic operators and ultimately also to safeguard consumer interests.
Small airports exempted
MEPs say (and the Council agrees) that applying the rules to smaller airports, with under one million passengers a year, would have imposed administrative and bureaucratic burdens, to no great effect, on airports that are not in competition due to geographic and structural factors. However, the Directive will apply to the largest airport in each Member State, irrespective of passenger numbers.
Clear, objective criteria
The European Parliament also saw to it that any differentiation in airports' charges will have to be based on transparent and objective criteria. The Council Common Position, published on 23 June, also makes it clear that there should be a national independent supervisory body, rather than merely regional ones, which is also in line with Parliament's position. The House also won a tighter definition of an "airport network", which means one that is operated by the same management body.
Disadvantaged and outermost regions
Transport Ministers also accept that incentives should be permitted for new routes to disadvantaged and outermost regions and that uniform charging systems may be applied by management bodies serving the same network only on the basis of transparent criteria.
Disabled and reduced-mobility passenger charges excluded
In addition to the above, charges for the provision of services to disabled and reduced-mobility passengers mobility will be excluded from the scope of the Directive.
Amendments to the Common Position
The Council had already given a formal written commitment to accept a further series of parliamentary amendments if tabled at the second reading. These amendments deal with pre-financing of airport investments and link pre-financing to ICAO policies and the need for safeguards. Firm deadlines for the publication of decisions on charges are also laid down in the proposal.
Airports concerned
Alicante, Amsterdam, Athens; Barcelona, Berlin (Schoenefeld and Tegel), Birmingham, Bourgas, Bratislava, Bristol, Brussels (Zaventem), Bucharest,  Budapest, Catania, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Faro, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Gran Canaria, Hamburg, Hannover, Helsinki, Iraklion, Kobenhavn,  Köln/Bonn, Lanzarote, Larnaka, Lisboa, Ljubljanna, London (Gatwick, Heathtrow, Luton and Stansted), Luxemburg, Lyon, Madrid/Barajas, Malaga, Malta, Manchester, Marseille-Provence, Milano (Linate and Malpensa), München, Newcastle, Nice-Cote d'Azur, Pafos, Palma de Mallorca, Paris (Charles de Gaulle and Orly), Praha, Riga, Rodos, Roma/Fiumicino, Sofia, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Tallinn, Tenerife, Timisoara, Toulouse (Blagnac and CCER), Varna, Venezia, Vilnius, Warszawa and Wien.
Airport charges
According to the newest 2007 figures, 69 airports will come under the scope of the Directive (with more than 5 million passengers or being the biggest airport in a Member State).   By the entry into force of the Directive in 2010, it is estimated by ACI, the Airport Council International, that 77 airports will be concerned.

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