Brussels, Belgium – 21 February 2014 – The European Business Aviation Association welcomes the European Commission’s decision concerning operating aid for regional airports, which permits airports receiving less than 700,000 passengers per year to continue having a range of funding options available to them.
“We believe the Commission has taken a sensible approach to a sensitive issue,” says Fabio Gamba, CEO of the Association. “This measure not only fine-tunes and provides greater clarity on the application of State aids, 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 has abandoned earlier considerations for limiting operating aid, which included proposing a much lower threshold of 300,000 passengers a year, which might have led 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,” concludes Fabio Gamba.
The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) was founded in 1977 to defend the interests of business aviation. Today, more than 800 business aviation companies (direct members or members of associate organisations) rely on the EBAA to protect their business interests. It is the only voice to represent business aviation among the European institutions. For more information, visit www.ebaa.org.