EU interferes in aviation Feb04
week, the European Commission ruled that state subsidies, obtained by
Ryanair from the Belgian authorities to use Brussels Charleroi airport,
were illegal. Under EU Competition rules, the local government-owned
Charleroi, cannot subsidise private companies in a selective manner.
Commission's ruling could affect around 24 state-owned airports throughout
Europe, used by Ryanair and other low cost carriers. It will require
Ryanair to pay around £3m in fines and refunds to the owners of Charleroi
Airport and could force Ryanair to discontinue its flights from Stansted
to Charleroi, affecting the 2 million passengers who fly this route very
year. Last year, a similar decision forced Ryanair to discontinue its
flights from Stansted to Strasbourg.
are these faceless bureaucrats in Brussels who dictate to European
citizens about where they fly to and at what cost? The EU is supposed to
facilitate co-operation between Member States and make life easier and
more comfortable for its citizens. Competition should be about choice and
lower prices. Why should privately owned airports be allowed to subsidise
selectively anyone they like whilst those owned by governments (i.e.
citizens) cannot? Why do the governments of France, Italy and Spain
subsidise their national carriers without any objection or fines from the
like other low cost airlines, has offered substantial business to East
Anglia's premier airport Stansted. They have invested in facilities there,
employed many people directly and indirectly in related services and given
the opportunity to our people to fly to many destinations on the continent
at affordable prices. They have offered the possibility of many who have
invested in second homes on the continent and who have, by their
investment in Europe, stimulated the economies of small continental towns
that many of us had not even heard of.
70 million EU citizens travel on low cost airlines ever year. The
existence of low cost airlines in Europe is vital for providing consumer
choice, competition and cheaper travel. If low cost airlines pull out of
small regional airports, local economies and tourism will suffer as a
European Union should be about co-operation between Members States in
order to improve the welfare and lifestyle of its citizens. Any policy,
rule or legislation that does not meet such a criterion should be
challenged and rejected. How dare an incompetent collection of bureaucrats
entrenched in overpaid jobs for life dictate to European citizens what is
clearly an anti-competitive and commercially unsound proposal? How dare
they threaten jobs at Stansted and in East Anglia, convenience and savings
to millions of passengers in both directions and the livelihood of
citizens of rural France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia and Austria
to which these low cost airlines fly.
urge European national leaders and the European Parliament to instruct the
EU Commission to withdraw its silly ruling on low cost airlines flying to
regional airports. Furthermore, it is time for the EU to ensure that the
new Treaty reduces the excessive powers of the Commission and assigns it
the function of a civil service as we have in Britain - a service that
implements legislation not initiates it!