European Parliament stated (17-Jun-2010) it regrets continuing US restrictions on EU companies' ownership of stakes in US airlines, stating the regulations are "unbalanced". It passed a resolution calling for better protection of air passengers' personal data and stated airlines from both sides of the Atlantic should be included in emission trading rules. MEPs asked the European Commission to start the third-stage of EU-US open skies negotiations, with a view to completing them by 31-Dec-2013. The negotiations should be conducted with a view to including further liberalisation of traffic rights, additional foreign investment opportunities, environmental and infrastructure constraints on the exercise of traffic rights and better co-ordination of passenger rights policies "in order to ensure the highest possible level of protection for passengers". [more]
European Parliament calls for EU-US open skies progress
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AENA: Spain's airport operator must cut charges, but airline yields are already falling
After much delay, in late Jan-2017 the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the airport regulation document setting AENA's airport charges for the next five years. The headline numbers include a 2.2% annual decline in charges from 2017 to 2021, equivalent to an overall cut of 11% through the period.
The legal framework prevents tariff increases before 2025, but the outcome was in contrast with the Spanish airport group's own proposal to freeze charges. Strong traffic growth of 11% to an all time high level of 230 million passengers in 2016 may have influenced the regulator's decision.
In response, AENA has decided to remove an incentive mechanism which rewards airlines for traffic growth with airport charge discounts. The removal of discounts is estimated to offset the 11% reduction by one third.
In fact, this discount scheme has been quite effective in stimulating traffic growth in recent years. However, traffic growth in Spain was also boosted in 2016 by high airline capacity growth switched from other (risk) markets. Airline yield declines are probably noticeably heavier than AENA's regulated price reduction.
Political uncertainty and overcapacity could sideswipe Middle East airline performance in 2017
Aviation is fundamentally a business of cycles and the Middle East has been slowly transitioning from a long upswing in traffic growth and airline profitability into a plateauing that brings with it new initiatives in partnerships and profile.