The European Business Aviation Association is pleased with the European Commission’s recent decision that continues operating aid for regional airports in Europe. Under the updated state aid guidelines, airports receiving less than 700,000 passengers per year will “continue having a range of funding options available to them.” The EC earlier considered limiting operating aid to a lower threshold of 300,000 passengers per year, which EBAA said could have led to the closure of several regional airports across Europe.
“We believe the Commission has taken a sensible approach to a sensitive issue,” said EBAA CEO Fabio Gamba. “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 airports, the business aviation community has argued that small regional airports “hold intrinsic value for local communities, delivering jobs and passenger spending power.” EBAA said this value must be recognized as part of the economic sustainability of small airports, not just self-generated income alone.
According to EBAA, the EC’s decision will continue to allow a “thick network of small regional airports that enable greater mobility” in Europe.