The European Commission (EC) wants to impose tighter guidelines restricting state aid for airports and airlines in the European Union (EU). In a consultation document launched on July 3, the EC proposed that all publicly funded aid for airports must end after a 10-year transitional period and that it restrict funding in the meantime to only smaller, regional airports. The same guidelines subject to industry consultation through September 25 would also limit start-up aid for airlines.
Air transport in the United Kingdom
While last year produced a “mixed bag” of modest growth that favored mainline airlines over regional carriers and international over domestic travel, the FAA predicts that airline passenger travel will nearly double over the next 20 years.
A steady rise in traffic and load factors might seem like good news for the airline delegates gathered at the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) general assembly in Vienna from September 29 to October 1. But as airlines turn to “fierce cost cutting” to attract passengers, reality muted any calls for celebration during the three-day event.
The FAA now doesn’t expect domestic commercial air travel to return to pre-9/11 levels until 2006, and its earlier forecasts that U.S. airlines would be enplaning one billion passengers a year by 2010 have been pushed back to at least 2014.