The package consists of a policy summary document and three legislative measures, on slots, ground-handling and noise.
The Commission proposals introduce market based mechanisms for the trading of slots between airlines in a transparent way, as well as measures to ensure that existing capacity is used by airlines - by raising the threshold on the "use it or lose it rule" from 80%-85%.
The proposed measures on slots would allow the system to handle 24 million more passengers a year by 2025. They will be worth €5 billion to the European economy and create up to 62,000 jobs over the period 2012-2025.
Five European airports are currently operating at capacity: Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Milan Linate. On current trends this could increase to nineteen key airports by 2030, including for example Paris CDG – with very significant consequences for delays and congestion.
The results for the first 10 months of the year, in terms of passenger movements, at Malta International Airport show an increase of 7.3% when compared to the same period last year, totalling 3,128,418 passenger movements. Malta International Airport is one of two Maltese companies among 110 companies across Europe that have been awarded a 'Ruban d'Honneur' prize in the penultimate stage of the European Business Awards. In early 2010 MIA was been awarded the title “Most Noteworthy Airport for a New Small Budget Programme” by Passenger Terminal World, the international review of airport design, technology, security, operations and management.
The Commission is putting forward proposals to improve the quality and efficiency of ground handling services at airports. Measures will include: increasing, for key ground-handling services that are still currently restricted - baggage handling, ramp handling, refuelling and oil, freight and mail services - the minimum choice of ground-handlers available to airlines at large airports from two to three.
The Commission proposals increase the transparency in the process of setting noise-related restrictions at airports, including an oversight role for the Commission. This is not about targets, but about the decision-making process. It gives the Commission a scrutiny role – it does not replace a Member State's final decision. The proposals also update existing legislation in line with technological developments to make it easier for authorities to phase-out the noisiest planes.
Decisions on cutting noise levels have to balance protection for citizens living close to airports against the needs of those who wish to travel. Decisions must be taken in line with guidelines set at international level (by the UN body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation). Residents are entitled to be protected from excess noise from airports but it is necessary to take into account costs in terms of lost capacity and the impact on economic growth in a region.
The Commission's proposals must be approved by the European Parliament and Member State Governments by the "co-decision" procedure, before being adopted.