ASM & Hill Dickinson Hold A Successful First Workshop On The New EU Guidelines On State Aid For Airports And Airlines
Route development specialists, Airport Strategy and Marketing (ASM) and international commercial law firm, Hill Dickinson LLP held their first joint workshop on understanding the latest EU guidelines on State aid to airports and airlines 2014, last week in London. The workshop was attended by a number of airports who were able to explore their own complicated situations with one of Europe’s leading aviation lawyers, Jeremy Robinson, Hill Dickinson LLP.
“Each airport has its own unique financial and competitive situation and we have been lucky to examine some real case studies and apply them to the airports that came here today,” commented Robinson, continuing: “The 2014 guidelines are very different from the old 2005 guidelines and it is important that airports get up to speed, furthermore it is important that airports monitor carefully the backlog of cases currently going through the Commission, as these will shape the interpretation of the rules in the coming years.”
On 20th February 2014, the European Commission issued new guidelines on State aid to airports and airlines, updating and modernising the rules that had applied since 2005 particularly in relation to operating aid, investment aid and start-up aid. Jeremy explained how these guidelines relate to other key legislation, such as the Airport Charges Directive and general competition law, as well as how old cases under the 2005 guidelines were decided, and how similar cases today would fare under the 2014 rules.
Chris Purkiss, Director of Civil Aviation, Gibraltar attended the workshop and explained: “The new guidelines will become important for many public run airports like ours and it is important to understand the mindset of the Commission, their objectives and how they are likely to apply the guidelines to real life cases. The workshop has been invaluable for us to understand what we need to do when we go back to the office in relation to the latest EU Commission Guidelines.”
Nigel Mayes from ASM added: “Many airports have not paid enough attention to the changes in the Commission’s approach and the practical implications, for example, the preparation of airport business plans especially for justifying investment into new routes. The aim of this workshop is to highlight the requirements and provide some ideas for how to build these business cases.”