|Author (Person)||Frost, Laurence|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.28, 12.7.01, p17|
A PLANNED review of the way airport take-off and landing slots are allocated will hit jobs in areas served by smaller airports, regional airlines are warning.
Smaller carriers this week went on the offensive against the European Commission's slots communication, unveiled last month. They say the crucial links they provide to provincial economic centres will be damaged by the move to favour larger aircraft in the carve-up of take-off and landing rights. "It's going to eliminate vital services to regional communities," said Andrew Clarke, director of air transport policy at the European Regions Airline Association (ERA). "These services protect vital inward investment, which is needed to maintain the economic viability of regions. "If there's less investment, there will be fewer jobs, and further population shift to the major centres."
The ERA includes 82 regional airlines operating in 28 countries, accounting for 75 million passenger journeys every year. At larger, more congested airports, the Commission's communication states that "it is proposed to consider as an allocation criterion the size of aircraft and thus give priority among air carriers competing for the same series of slots, to those which intend to operate with the larger aircraft". Regional airlines serving domestic routes do not use larger aircraft.
The paper also gives low priority to routes that are already covered by other forms of transport such as train services.
Regional carriers say this means that regional business communities could lose their rapid connections to hub airports.
Larger airlines are also fighting the proposal, tabled last month by Transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio, because it would put an end to the trading of slots between them, and spells out that they are not carriers' property.
The ERA is planning a widespread campaign to mobilise towns and regions to defend the transport links serving their economies. "We'll be urging our members to work with their local communities to alert them to the threat," said Clarke. "We're planning our action this week." De Palacio's spokesman, Gilles Gantelet, said the proposal was now out of the Commission's hands, and concerns over regional routes would be addressed at the next legislative hurdle. "They can explain their point of view to the Council [of Ministers] or the European Parliament," he said. "If there's anything in the proposal which is really having a negative effect on European companies that will be taken into account."
A planned review of the way airport take-off and landing slots are allocated will hit jobs in areas served by smaller airports, regional airlines are warning.
|Subject Categories||Mobility and Transport|