The Quality of Life in Airport Regions – How to Sustain a Good Marriage

By Olaf van Tol

All the larger European airports are situated in densely populated metropolitan areas. Obviously, airports affect their surrounding regions – both in a negative and in a positive way. Apart from the most obvious negative impacts such as noise, safety concerns and health-related issues, an airport’s positive aspects are often less known to the general public. This is not likely to change in the coming years. In today’s market, the contribution of airports to national and regional economies calls for more support for growth in the civil aviation sector.

Regional Airports as Two-Sided Markets – the Case for a More Economic Approach in the Application of the EU’s State Aid Rules

by Andreas Knorr and André W. Heinemann europese vlag

With its landmark ruling of December 17th, 2008, the European Union’s Court of First Instance (CFI) unexpectedly declared the European Commission’s famous Charleroi decision of early 2004 nil and void. On February 19th, 2009, the Commission decided not to appeal. The nullification of the Commission’s Charleroi decision by the CFI on purely formal grounds is just the culmination in a long-standing series of legal fights between traditional airlines and their low-cost competitors over (allegedly) unfair competition through (alleged) state aids. However, it has opened a rare window of opportunity for embarking on a much-needed, more economic approach in the EU’s state aids control procedures. In this paper, we will apply the theory of two-sided markets – so-called platforms – to this famous case as we deem it particularly fit to advance the economic analysis of the complex commercial relationships between airports and airlines.

2.6 – Aircraft Noise – Disturbance, Perception and Policy Implications at Regional Airports

By Callum Thomas, Janet Maughan, Paul Hooper and Ken Hume

thomasThe disturbance caused by aircraft noise is the single most important local impact arising from airport operations. It has the potential to constrain airport growth, thus limiting potential social and economical growth in the Region. Thomas et al analyze the perception of aircraft noise disturbance and discuss policy initiatives deployed by the ICAO and the EU to control the nuisance.

3.4 – Regional Airports: Quality versus Quantity

heerkensWhat will the future bring for regional airports in the Netherlands? Heerkens emphasized that in the long run less regional airports are in use, but those that remain will be in better shape. Twente and possibly Maastricht-Aachen might outperform their competitors in the long run, so that they attract the concentration of traffic needed to prosper. But, given the Dutch national policy on regional airports, this is not likely to occur. Some years ago, the national government handed over responsibility for running regional airports to regional actors like municipalities and airport shareholders. Hence, there is no view of the national government on the desired shape of the regional airport infrastructure – at least not officially.

3.5 – Spatial implications of Airport Policy for Regional Airports: A sustainable Future?


Some regional airports display a strong growth. An airport can provide a valuable contribution to the accessibility of a region and, although there are significant restrictions to spatial usage, there are great opportunities. In the long term it is a possibility that the main regional objection to an airport (noise pollution) disappears due to technological advancements, in which case every region, like in the past, wants an airport again. For that reason sensible policy making is required these days: it is better to have harsh requirement on maximum noise production and opening times now than to give up future international accessibility.

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