With the consultation on the EU revised guidelines on State Aid for Airports and Airlines coming to a close, members of the AER Working Group on Regional Airports gathered in Brussels to discuss the potential threats the new guidelines will pose to the survival of Regional Airports, and subsequently to the ability of Europe’s regions to define coherent territorial development strategies.
AER recognises the need for change, in favour of fair competition, efficiency in public financing and attracting more private investment. However, the current EC proposal does not allow for sufficient flexibility and incentives to promote regional growth, as well as ensure economic, social and territorial cohesion. AER thus calls on DG Regio to lead on a Regional Impact Assessment in order to establish the potential effects the new rules will have on the local communities served by the Regional Airports affected. It is primordial that regions are at the heart of the decision-making processes when it comes to supporting and developing key regional infrastructure, as per the EU principle of subsidiarity.