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Revised Airport Regulation Will Benefit European Consumers

  • A4E calls on the EU to strengthen economic regulation of major European airport monopolies by prioritising the interests of consumers.
  • Airports spend an exorbitant amount of money at both airlines’ and passengers’ expense.

Today, the CEOs of A4E’s member airlines have reiterated their concerns on the poor implementation of the EU airports regulation (Airport Charges Directive) which has undermined Europe’s competitiveness and thwarted the creation of more than 200,000 jobs. Various studies, including by IATA, have revealed that charges at the largest European airports have doubled in 10 years (2006–2016) while average air fares intra-Europe have fallen from €199 to €96 in this same period.

“While air fares have gone down, airport charges have increased substantially. Disproportionate airport charges are simply bad for consumers. Lower charges would have been passed onto consumers by airlines, leading to even lower fares and boosting European economies. The current system incentivises airports to spend an exorbitant amount of money at both airlines’ and passengers’ expense”, said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director of A4E.

“A4E has been calling on the EU to significantly strengthen economic regulation of major European airport monopolies by prioritising the interests of consumers. Therefore, we are pleased that the European Commission has launched a review into the Airport Charges Directive”, Reynaert added.

A4E welcomes the release of the European Commission’s evaluation of the implementation and functioning of the Airport Charges Directive that was conducted by Steer Davies Gleave. It confirms the widely reported experiences of airlines regarding the fragmented and inefficient implementation of the ACD.

Note to Editors

A4E is contributing to a revised legislation with the aim of creating a strong economic regulation with an independent, transparent and accountable “single-till” mechanism for setting and managing airport charges – in line with the report’s recommendations, including:

  • Strengthening the format and content of compulsory consultations with airlines;
  • Strengthening the resourcing, independence and effectiveness of the Independent Supervisory Authorities (ISA) and defining their scope of work, including stronger control over airport investments;
  • Tackling the issue of long-term concession agreements that pre-set airport charges;
  • Increasing the cost-efficiency and transparency of airports;
  • Targeting an additional tier of regulation at airports with the highest levels of market power;
  • Addressing the ACD’s problems through the introduction of an EU Regulation to bring about more clarity and leave less room for inconsistent application between Member States.


Analysis of Airport Charges

The economic impact of air taxes in Europe: European Economic Area

About A4E

Airlines for Europe (A4E) is Europe’s largest airline association, based in Brussels. A4E works with policymakers to ensure aviation policy continues to connect Europeans with the world in a safe, competitive and sustainable manner. As a key initiator of aviation’s Destination 2050 roadmap, A4E and its members committed to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions for their own operations by 2050. With a modern fleet of over 3,200 aircraft, A4E airlines carried over 270 million passengers in 2021 — down from 700 million in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, A4E members with air cargo and mail activities transport more than 3.7 million tonnes of goods, life-saving vaccines and essential medical equipment to more than 360 destinations either by freighters or passenger aircraft. Follow us on Twitter @A4Europe.