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Regional Airports Propped Up By EU State Aid Decision

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

15 March 2014


The European Business Aviation Association has welcomed a state aid decision from the European Commission permitting regional airports that receive fewer than 700,000 passengers each year to continue to receive a range of funding options.

Welcoming the decision, Fabio Gamba, CEO of the Association, said: "We believe the Commission has taken a sensible approach to a sensitive issue. This measure not only fine-tunes and provides greater clarity on the application of state aid, but it as well offers a level of flexibility for the small regional airports that are most dependent on these funds. As primary users of regional aerodromes, the business aviation sector has always argued that small regional airports hold intrinsic value for local communities, delivering, among other things, jobs and passenger spending power. This value must be recognised as part of the economic sustainability of small airports, not just self-generated income alone."

In reviewing State Aid guidelines, the European Commission abandoned earlier proposals recommending that state aid be limited to airports receiving up to 300,000 passengers a year, which the industry had warned would lead to the closure of a number of airports across Europe.

"We are confident that five years' from now when the Commission reviews the impact of its decision, it will evidence that we in Europe are lucky to have such a thick network of small regional airports that enable greater mobility, particularly in light of fierce international competition and a looming capacity crunch at major airport hubs," Gamba concluded.

TAGS: aviation

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