The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reacted cautiously to the publication of the European Commission’s Airport Package of legislation which is aimed at addressing the critical issues of European airport capacity and competitiveness.
EU officials released the document last week offering proposals to boost capacity at European airports without further construction.
“Competitiveness and capacity of the air transport sector are critical foundation stones for the European economy,” said IATA director general Tony Tyler.
“The airports package is an indication that the European Commission has recognised this and the urgent need to improve both.
“It is good to see some steps in the right direction. But some areas of concern remain among industry experts.
“It is important that publication is followed-up by a vigorous and open dialogue between all parties to refine the package to get the best results.”
IATA highlighted two of the package’s positive features:
The further liberalisation of the ground handling market, which should allow airlines to provide a better and more efficient service at European airports.
IATA acknowledged that by legalising secondary trading of airport slots, the package provides a regulatory foundation for a practice that has
become widespread. Transparent rules will ensure that this is done in fairness to all parties concerned.
“Our common goal is to ensure sufficient capacity and a competitive market for airport services across Europe.
“To this end, industry provided input to the Commission in the development of the package to ensure that our views and experience were understood. We are pleased that some of our major concerns have been taken into account,” said Tyler.
There are still issues of concern for the industry and Tyler noted some areas of the package should be improved.
“Proposed changes to the use-it-or-lose-it slot rule will provide some perverse incentives that would not be in the interest of the environment, capacity or efficiency.
“Moreover, the current rules work well for all stakeholders.
“We look forward to continuing our dialogue to address the less helpful points included in the package so as to arrive at a solution that is aligned with the well- established global best practices of the IATA Worldwide Slot Guidelines,” concluded Tyler.