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Operating Aids to Airports: a Review of the Commission’s Decisions on the Application of the 2014 Guidelines

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/estal/2017/4/7

Michele Giannino, Federich Romby


By the 2014 Aviation Guidelines the European Commission introduced a brand-new regime for airport operating aid whereby this type of public aid can be lawfully granted if it satisfies certain compatibility conditions. The article reviews the decisional practice developed by the Commission on the application of the competition conditions for airport operating aid, highlighting the circumstances under which such aid may be found to be incompatible. Arguably, the so-called ‘duplication argument’ plays a key role in the Commission assessment of the compatibility of airport operating aid. Indeed, the only two negative decisions so far made by the Commission were based on the consideration that the aid led to the duplication of unviable airport facilities. In contrast, the Commission cleared aid awarded to airports that met demand for air transport services that was not satisfied by the nearby airports.
Keywords: Operating Aid; Airport; 2014 Guidelines; Commission Decision.

Dr Michele Giannino, Italian qualified lawyer, LLM (Leicester), PhD (London), Dip (ITM); Federich Romby, Italian qualified lawyer, LLM (LSE), Associate at CMS Milan (Italy).

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