THE EUROPEAN Commission (EC) will increasingly turn its attention to airline-competition issues such as access to new routes, airport slots and computer reservation systems (CRS) EC Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock has pledged.

Kinnock acknowledges that the EC has so far been pre-occupied with the issue of state aid, but believes that this will be resolved by the end of the decade as airlines increasingly become "normal commercially funded" businesses. Instead, he says that the EC's responsibility for anti-trust issues will come to the fore.

"State-aid aspects of the role will naturally recede and anti-trust issues are likely to gain increasing importance," he said in London on 27 June, at a briefing for UK politicians and policy makers.

Kinnock highlights powers to stop "abuse of power" by dominant carriers in specific routes or markets, as well as anti-trust issues from mergers and alliances.

"Anti-competitive use" of CRS systems and slot-allocation policy are under review.

Source: Flight International