IATA calls for tighter airport regulation

IATA has appealed
to Jacques Barrot, Vice President of the European Commission and
Commissioner responsible for Transport and Energy, for a Directive on
robust national economic regulation of Europe’s airports.“An efficient air transport sector is critical for Europe to achieve its
Lisbon Agenda goal to become the world’s most dynamic economy. For
Europe’s airlines, the Lisbon Agenda was do or die. Europe’s airlines
have achieved a 9% reduction in aircraft operating costs, a 24%
reduction in distribution and back office costs and a 14% increase in
pilot productivity. Airports, on the other hand, gave the airlines a 13%
increase in per passenger costs with a total bill for airlines and their
users of US$14.5 billion,” said Bisignani.

Bisignani noted there are several airports that are on track with cost
reduction per passenger, including Manchester (-38%), Rome (-25%) and
Birmingham (-13%). “But far too many airports are not delivering the
competitiveness that Europe needs. Fifteen of the 25 most expensive
airports in the world are in Europe. And the bad are getting worse.
Between 2001 and 2004 we have seen increases in cost per passenger at
Aeroports de Paris (+44%), Amsterdam (+34%), Stockholm (+35%) and Munich
(+26%) to name but a few. These are embarrassing examples of airport
monopolies living in the dark ages. It is time for the Commission to
drive the Lisbon Agenda with results on airport efficiency,” said

“We want profitable airports providing safe infrastructure with
investment to meet growth. Airports must achieve all of this with
greater cost efficiency in the same way as airlines have delivered on
efficiency. We are not asking anything that we have not done ourselves,”
said Bisignani.

Bisignani noted that the Commission is already working on a Directive
for airport charges.  “The Directive must require robust independent
national regulation of airport monopolies over 5 million
passengers-Europe’s top 50. It must fulfil four objectives:

1.      Take politics out of airport management


2.      Comply with ICAO principles, including non-discrimination

3.      Ensure stakeholder engagement with real and transparent

4.      And above all, act as a substitute for competition ensuring
continuous improvement on cost efficiency-not only preventing increases
above inflation, but challenging airports to do better by reducing

“Europe must become more competitive. Airlines are on board with the
Lisbon Agenda and delivering impressive results. Competition is
producing airline efficiency that directly contributes to Europe’s
competitiveness. Too many of Europe’s airport monopolies lack commercial
discipline and are not contributing to the success of the Lisbon Agenda.
Airports are a drag on European competitiveness. Efficiency is our
common agenda. A European Directive on Airport Charges is the tool.  And
effective, independent national regulation with teeth is the answer,”
said Bisignani.