BIBLIOGRAPHIE : Aix-en-Provence, Presses Universitaires d’Aix-Marseille, bibliothèque de l’IFURTA, 2006, 626 p.

Les aéroports commerciaux entre économie administrée et économie de marché

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The status of airports, until the last few months, was inherited from the post-war structures. Even if the commercial dimension of these entities was not ignored, as a public service their regime fell within the administrative sphere, putting them out of reach of the market. This vision, shared at the global level, has seen its foundations falter. The liberalisation of air transport led by the European Community in the 1990s involved the abandonment of preferential treatment of national airlines by their States, of which airports were one of the cogs. To achieve this, it worked in the same way as it did with the other public monopolies. It adopted specific rules to open up access to airports to users on a non-discriminatory basis. Beyond this, it has profoundly altered the way in which this activity is viewed by recognizing that it involves services of an economic nature which should be subject to the competition rules, even if their contribution to policies of general interest has been identified. This change was accepted by the French administrative judge who had to integrate these standards into the legal regime for airports. The behaviour of these players was largely sanctioned on these new foundations. Beyond this, the recognition of their economic dimension required a review of the statutes of French airports. In 2004, a law was passed transferring regional airports to the local authorities, leaving them the choice of revitalising the management of these infrastructures. In 2005, a law offered airports of national interest the means to integrate the market. Aéroports de Paris was transformed into a public limited company and partially privatised a few months later. The concessionary chambers of commerce of the major regional airports have the possibility of creating commercial companies with other partners. Negotiations between the various partners involved (CCI, State and local authorities) are currently being conducted to set up the first of these companies. However, the choices made are surrounded by such arrangements that the legacy of the administered economy clearly weighs on the desired integration into the market.