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More modern state aid rules for aviation
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Published on 03-07-13

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on state aid rules in the aviation sector. The new proposals will keep the underlying principle that public financing which operates in the same way as a private investor would have done is not state aid. They look however to bring existing rules in line with recent developments in the aviation sector – like post 9/11 security threats, increased oil prices, concentration among air carriers and the advent of low-cost airlines that use regional airports.

    More modern state aid rules for aviation

    The main provisions are:

    • State aid for investment in airport infrastructure is allowed if there is a genuine transport need and the public support is necessary to ensure the accessibility of a region. The current guidelines leave open the issue of how much aid can be granted in relation to the eligible cost of a project. The revised draft rules define a permissible maximum depending on the size of an airport.
    • Operating aid to airports is not allowed under the current guidelines. The Commission now proposes to allow such aid for a transitional period of 10 years under certain conditions, in order to give airports time to adjust their business model. 
    • Start-up aid to airlines to launch a new air route is permitted provided it remains limited in time. In the draft new guidelines, the compatibility conditions for start-up aid to airlines have been streamlined and adapted to recent market developments.

    Comments should be sent by 25 September 2013 to:Stateaidgreffe@ec.europa.eu

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    Last update: 04/07/2013  |Top