Low fares say competition not regulation

The European Low Fares Airline Association attended an EC Dialogue with Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot, to discuss the future of Europe’s airports and welcomed the Commission’s decision to consult with the industry.The ELFAA has encouraged the Commission to follow the Better Regulation guidelines in all matters
impacting air transport.
Speaking today on behalf of ELFAA, Jim Callaghan, Head of Regulatory Affairs and Company
Secretary for Ryanair and member of the Executive Committee of ELFAA said:
“The very successful liberalisation of European air transport in the 1990s has generated numerous
benefits to European consumers and economy in terms of lower fares, increased tourism, job
creation, etc. Any attempt to re-regulate the industry will place these benefits in jeopardy.
“The emergence of low fares airlines (LFAs) offering direct, point-to-point services has rejuvenated
previously underutilised regional and secondary airports across Europe. Increased competition from
these airports has forced not only these but also some major airports to seek efficiencies and lower
their charges. “The EC should therefore be encouraging and protecting competition between airports
rather than trying to regulate charges. Where no viable competition exists for a major airport there is
likely to be the need for some form of airport regulation but this regulation must be effective. Also,
regulation should not automatically be imposed on airports of certain size but should be decided on a
case by case basis.
“In addressing the capacity shortage at some major European airports, the EC should be encouraging
better use of the existing capacity at underutilised secondary and regional airports rather than seeking
ways of administrative interference in the market in order to free some space at these major airports.
“The world has moved forward and it has become clear that competition and not regulation is the best
approach to the problem of congestion and excessive charges that exists at some major European