[Updated July 30 with new information]
The European Business Aviation Association is pleased with the European Commission’s recent decision that continues operating aid for regional airports in Europe. Under the updated state aid guidelines, airports receiving less than 700,000 passengers per year will “continue having a range of funding options available to them.” The EC earlier considered limiting operating aid to a lower threshold of 300,000 passengers per year, which EBAA said could have led to the closure of several regional airports across Europe.
The European Commission (EC) wants to impose tighter guidelines restricting state aid for airports and airlines in the European Union (EU). In a consultation document launched on July 3, the EC proposed that all publicly funded aid for airports must end after a 10-year transitional period and that it restrict funding in the meantime to only smaller, regional airports. The same guidelines subject to industry consultation through September 25 would also limit start-up aid for airlines.
Britain’s skies are filled not so much with aircraft noise as with the sound of grinding axes, as regional airports vie for audibility during the latest UK government reconsideration of aviation strategy. Forever perceiving themselves as poor relations to major London-area facilities, some of Britain’s local airports (especially in central and southwestern regions) have taken to denigrating competitors, all the while proclaiming their respective “connectivity” to airline networks.