Low-fares airline group rejects 'regulatory burden' in outline guidelines on using public funds to lure airlines

A low-fare airline association has condemned initial drafts of pan-European guidelines on how municipal airports may attract low cost carriers as a potentially unfair regulatory burden.

The new guidelines propose allowing the use of public funds to lure airlines to airports to boost local economies, but recommends a series of safeguards to avoid abuse including limiting aid to start-up periods; restricting aid to airports in economically deprived regions; cutting aid as traffic increases and obliging governments to operate competitive tenders.

However, European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) secretary general Jan Skeels warns the draft is "essentially regulation of airports through the back door" and could disadvantage publicly-owned regional airports unable to match private airports' deals.

The guidelines come as the result of a ruling last year by the European Court of Justice that the Belgian region of Flanders had broken Europe's strict state aid rules when it cut a deal with Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair to create a base at Brussels' South Charleroi airport.

ELFAA says it will work with regional airport groups to ensure the guidelines are not approved.


Source: Flight International