Airports must be better used to boost economy in EU, says Collier
Outgoing Dublin Airport Authority chief executive Declan Collier has told members of the European Parliament that Europe isn't capitalising enough on the role played by airports in shaping local economic development.
Mr Collier was addressing an event in Brussels attended by chief executives of 12 European airports.
"More than ever, Europe needs to develop the airport capacity required to meet future demand and create a more supportive regulatory framework for aviation," he said.
Mr Collier also said that he welcomed plans by the European Commission to optimise aircraft slot allocation at heavily congested airports.
But yesterday two industry bodies -- the European Regions Airline Association (ERAA) and the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) -- claimed that the EC's plan to address the use of slots will "leak jobs out of Europe".
The EC is proposing that airlines could trade slots with each other at any airport in the EU and increase transparency in slot allocation. It says the new regulations would be worth €5bn to the EU economy.
A study undertaken for the ERAA and the EBAA insists the new plans could result in the closure of a number of peripheral airports as they lose routes connecting them to hubs at larger airports.
Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins, who was at the event in Brussels, said he's "deeply concerned" about the plight of small regional airports.