Friday, December 2, 2011
The European Commission announced a variety of proposals aimed at better utilizing existing EU airport capacity, reducing delays, and improving the quality, efficiency and transparency of certain airport services and management functions. See European Commission press release, "Better Airports" Package Launched, Dec. 1, 2011 (available here). The most notable change is to rules regarding slot distribution. Airlines will now be better able to trade slots with one another. Additionally, the minimum threshold required for an airline to retain capacity to its slots under the "use it or lose it rule," which previously required airlines to use their slots at a minimum of 80% capacity, will be raised to 85%. Additionally, the package includes measures intended to improve ground handling services and increase the transparency in the decision-making process surrounding noise limits around airports. Before the measures can take effect, they must first be approved through the co-decision procedure involving the European Parliament, European Council and national Parliaments.