LAW & ECONOMICS: PUBLIC AIDS - AIRPORTS - ANALYSIS - GUIDELINES - COMMISSION

Public aids to airports: An economic and critical analysis of the European Commission’s position

This article discusses the new European Commission’s guidelines on public aids to airports. Its focus is on the case of operating aids. Using public data regarding French airports, we show that the transitional period of 10 years granted by the Commission will require a very high (and unlikely) growth of the profitability of the concerned airports. The Commission’s position seems to remain in the ban of the public operating aids to airports over time: we suggest that this ban does not sufficiently take into consideration the positive externality of the airports’ traffic on local growth. Moreover, the case of the French airports shows that the distortive effect of these aids is not obvious. The economic balance of these aids needs to be supported by further empirical analysis at the European level to ensure the relevance of such a ban of the operating aids.

*This article is an automatic translation of the original article, provided here for your convenience. Read the original article. Introduction 1. On 20 February 2014, the European Commission adopted new guidelines on public aid to airports and airlines [1]. These guidelines replace in particular the 2005 guidelines which were specifically devoted to the financing of airports and new airlines. 2. These guidelines present the European Commission's vision of how public authorities can help regional airports to continue or develop their activities. Economically, the issue at stake is to determine to what extent this public aid is beneficial to European consumers, thanks to the development of air traffic and its economic spin-offs, or on the contrary harmful, because of the distortions

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Olivier Sautel, Public aids to airports: An economic and critical analysis of the European Commission’s position, January 2015, Concurrences N° 1-2015, Art. N° 70670, www.concurrences.com

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