Commission Wants To increase (regional) Airport Capacity

Dear aviation campaigners,

The EU once again offers us the possibility to write them a letter!

Take some time to let the commission people know that they are thinking in the wrong direction! All details can be read on the consultation web page.

On the basis of this process of consultation a draft Commission Communication on the subject will be prepared.

Some "highlights" in the consultation paper:
- The commission states that extra airport capacity is essential to comply with the Lisbon strategy. Europe would become inaccessible. Both assumptions are not true. Air travel does not boost the economy and the EU will not get inaccessible as most air travellers use (regional) airports for leisure purposes. Therefore a lot of capacity will become available for business users if they are willing to pay a little bit more than current low fare leisure travellers.
- 17% of demand in 2025 is expected to be impossible to meet due to lack of airport capacity. The commission sees this as a big problem, although slightly lower annual growth figures over the next twenty years will overcome this problem. High oil prices, introduction of VAT a European fuel tax (or comparable levies) and inclusion in the emissions trading scheme would help a lot.
- In paragraph 52 the commission suggests that previously unused airports should be taken into consideration as a solution for capacity problems. This will effect large numbers of EU-citizens as noise problems will spread over new areas. Also the commission suggest cross subsidies: profit making hub airports could subsidise peripheral airports, thereby opening interesting new possibilities for (state) aid to regional airports.

Some general conclusions:
- not even a glance of analysis what the grows comes from (subsidies perhaps?) so this is far from a holistic approach to solving the problem. It smells like predict and provide.
- on environment, it encourages authorities to comply with EU law on impact assessment, 2002/30 and the like (wow !) and announces a communication on airport charges that would allow for differentiated airport charges (as if this is currently forbidden !)
- this consultation is trying to find an answer to the wrong question. The question should be: how should (growth in) air travel be managed, not how can we build more capacity.

Read and react!

The Commission services would like to ask stakeholders to give their opinion on the issues and ideas presented in the Consultation Paper. After each section there is a box with concrete question which the Commission service kindly requests the stakeholders to answer. Please send written replies to this consultation by e-mail or normal mail to the Commission services by 15 November 2005 to the following address:

European Commission, DG Transport and Energy, Air Traffic Management, and

Airports, Unit F2, BE-1049 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32-2-296.83.53,



Consultation web page






(c) GreenSkies, 2004.     Sir John Lyon House, 5 High Timber Street, London EC4V 3NS