Airports: connectivity, services, state aid, charges
Airports are the hubs of connectivity provided by airlines to passengers and freight customers.
Airports are now seen as engines of economic growth in their own right, responsible for €338 billion across the EU. Indeed, aviation can act as an "economic multiplier" and generate larger economic activity. It is also a very important job generator, with 2 million people employed directly in the EU aviation sector. As a result, air transport generates 5.5 million jobs in Europe.
Because large airports have problems of capacity and congestion, they need better air traffic management.
Before the Coronavirus pandemic, there was a growing demand for flights that required coordinated management of the entire network. Airport connectivity in Europe varies between airports. Some hub airports offer hundreds of destinations while small regional airports only offer a few routes. Geography is not the only factor determining the location of successful international airports and airlines. The availability of adequate infrastructure, workforce and tax regimes, as well as historical, cultural and commercial links all play a role.
To ensure better connectivity and fairer competition, the EU has adopted legislation on:
- the allocation of slots at airports. Here the coordinated text
- on ground handling services. Here the coordinated text
- on airport charges. Here the current text
In 2014, the Commission adopted new guidelines on state aid in the aviation sector. Here the text in force, to ensure that airports located in regions with specific air transport needs can receive public funding. The rules also mean that a level playing field is maintained for airports and airlines and that taxpayers' money is used fairly.
Through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), € 26.25 billion was available from the EU budget for the period 2014-2020 to co-finance major transport projects. This policy aims to bridge the gaps between the transport networks of the Member States. The Connecting Europe Facility Regulation sets out the rules for the allocation of EU financial support, priority projects and maximum EU co-financing limits by type of project.
In addition to ensuring the availability of adequate infrastructure for the air system to be able to grow and meet demand as needed, fulfilling their economic and social role, airports are a vital link in the air transport chain to ensure safety and security. general aviation system.