The European Commission has extended its deadline for air transport policy amendments until the middle of next month, following last-minute interest from low-cost carriers. The EC has received "several" requests for a delay in its review of air transport liberalisation laws, but insists that it still aims to publish proposals before the end of the year.

The EC says its aim at this stage is to see how various aspects of the third package of air transport liberalisation reforms, adopted in 1992, are working. "It is important that we speak to all interested parties, and a month's delay is not important in the grand scheme of things," says Marc Skreikes, responsible for drafting the legislation in the EC's air transport economic regulation division. The EC did not receive any contributions from low-cost carriers before its original May deadline, but representatives from Irish carrier Ryanair met the EC's transport commissioner Loyola de Palacio last week to present their case.

The EC is considering streamlining several measures that are ill-defined or abused in the current legislation. Loss-leading, or "dumping" of flights, for example, is likely to be more strictly legislated against, with airlines being required to prove that each route operates at more than cost.

Another measure being proposed for future legislation is the creation of a single European air operator's certificate. The EC is also likely to recommend a "simplification" of public service subsidies, granted by member states for "socially important thin routes".

The EC is to consolidate all contributions received by 16 June before publishing its full list of recommended amendments in October, says Skreikes.

Source: Flight International