Fair and transparent costs at EU airports
European airlines pay EU airports for using their infrastructure in the form of charges. A4E seeks to ensure that these costs are reasonable, transparent, and to the benefit of passengers.
Charges are an important part of airlines’ cost base, up to 10%–20% in some cases. Over the past decade, some major EU airports have raised charges by 80–100%.
Excessive charges drive up the cost of air travel and can lead to lower connectivity and affordability over time. It is therefore vital that airports with significant market power are effectively regulated.
The 2009 EU Airports Charges Directive (ACD) was meant to harmonise the regulatory framework for airport charges in Europe by setting minimum requirements on consultation and transparency. Those requirements were intended to compensate for the market power of an airport as the sole infrastructure provider for a given city or region.
The current framework has not met these objectives. The European Commission’s evaluation of the ACD in 2019 found that competition remains limited for some airports and that those airports are still able to “extract prices and terms that would otherwise not be achieved in a competitive market.”
The liberalisation of European aviation over the past 25 years has delivered major consumer benefits in terms of choice and price, thanks to a highly competitive airline market. A4E calls for a substantial reform of the ACD to ensure that those gains are not reversed, and airlines and their passengers do not pay more than they should.