ACI EUROPE urged (Mar-2021) the European Commission‘s (EC) Directorate General for Competition to immediately revise state aid guidelines to permit the funding of sustainability projects, particularly those aimed at decarbonisation. ACI EUROPE called on the EC to ensure that airports can effectively benefit from the EUR672.5 billion EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) to finance sustainability and digitalisation projects. Details include:
- According to EU regulations, airport investment under the RRF must comply with the 2014 aviation state aid guidelines, which forbid investment aid to medium sized and larger airports and set limits for aid to smaller airports. ACI stated that due to these limits, “most EU airports will not be able to access RRF financing”, adding that the restrictions are “at odds with the objectives of the EU Green Deal and Commission’s own agenda for the greening of airports”;
- ACI stated that further progress towards achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 will require continued investment, including EUR25.9 billion for the decarbonisation of terminals at the top 50 European airports. ACI said there is an “unequivocal need for airports to be eligible under RRF funding”;
- ACI EUROPE also urged EU states to ensure that airport sustainability and digitalisation projects are considered under national recovery and resilience plans.
ACI EUROPE director general Olivier Jankovec commented: “The Commission must come to terms with the material impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our industry… many airports will simply not be able to consider investments in the coming years. What we are facing is an unprecedented airport investment crunch”. [more – original PR]