Some win and some lose from EC Airports Package

EUROPE today unveiled its ‘Airport Package’ that has some significant effects for the cargo industry.

First, the European Commission (EC) is proposing to increase the number of ground handlers allowed at airports from two to three. This will increase competition and choice for airlines but will pressure companies already under considerable pressure to cut costs.

“Airlines are still dependent on service providers which, in many cases, operate as monopolies. This is not good for airlines or passengers,” said Association of European Airlines (AEA) secretary general Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus. “This regulatory proposal is a move in the right direction because it will encourage competition and improve service quality.”

Second, slot allocation will become more transparent and more emphasis will be stressed on a “use it or lose it” policy. This will allow more airlines who have traffic to fly to destination airports they want to, increasing cargo trade flow.

Third, the EC will become more involved in noise-restriction issues. In the wake of Frankfurt’s (Germany) night-flight ban this could either be ominous or encouraging depending on whether the EC’s will favour wallets or ears.

Lufthansa Cargo’s head of finance, Peter Gerber, is now estimating the loss to the airline, should the ban become permanent, at €40 million a year.

“Those are the additional costs for stopovers in Cologne, cancelled flights and business that we lost because of the ban,” Gerber said.

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