Airports in Italy continue to face significant uncertainty as regards the regulation of airport charges. This situation is constraining their ability to modernise and develop their facilities – and with it their contribution to much needed economic recovery and job creation for the country.
Following a 10 years policy paralysis during which airport charges were essentially frozen to artificially protect the former national airline, some progress has been made since 2012 with the approval of new charge levels for the airports of Rome, Milan, Venice, Catania and Palermo. However, the situation has remained stalled for most other Italian airports, and the exact role of the independent regulatory authority that was established in 2012 for the transport sector still needs to be fully clarified.
Speaking today at an event organised by ENAC (Italian Civil Aviation Authority) on this issue, Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE said “The Italian system for regulating airport charges has been highly ineffective. Despite the commendable work carried out by ENAC, there has been a lethal combination of excessive bureaucracy, political interference and a lack of focus - in particular as all Italian airports are regulated irrespective of whether they possess any substantial market power. What is now urgently required is not only an empowered single regulator with the appropriate expertise and resources, but also a rethink of when and how regulation should come into play.”
Jankovec added “More than ever, regulation should reflect market reality, provide legal certainty and protect commercial freedom – including the ability for airports to offer charges incentives to airlines to grow air traffic without undue interference or unnecessary procedures. Competitor airports in a pan-European market have this freedom – and so Italian airports – and their shareholders – need it too.”
ACI EUROPE is the European region of Airports Council International, the only worldwide professional association of airport operators. ACI EUROPE represents over 450 airports in 44 European countries. Member airports handle 90% of commercial air traffic in Europe, welcoming over 1.5 billion passengers, 18 million tonnes of freight and more than 20 million aircraft movements each year.
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