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Sweden complains that EU meddling in its domestic transport system threaten its smaller airports

Wednesday, 12 June 2013
Sweden hardly complain about EU proposal but this time regional airports authorities here feel that an EU rule on subsidies to them is a blow below the belt. If the proposal Brussels is talking about goes on and implemented, then Sweden fears that over 30 of its regional airports risks closure.

Swedish television reports that a draft new guideline from the European Commission, hold that public support for regional airports should be phased out and completely discontinued by 2023 - that is, about ten years. The reason for this is said to strengthen competition - bizarre as Sweden is more competitive that the EU itself. Therefore, less competitive EU lectures Sweden on competition. This is not going well with Swedish airport authorities.

sweden-small-airports"Should the proposal in the draft implemented, it would mean a dead sentence for our regional airports," said Peter Larsson, CEO of the Swedish Association of Regional Airports, with 36 members.

The Commission's proposed guidelines would have been presented in May but has been delayed. Peter Larsson believed that it is due to the harsh criticism from countries such as Sweden.

"We are the EU country with the longest distance in our territory and air travel is an essential part of the infrastructure which help takes people around the kingdom in a reasonable manner. It is completely unreasonable for Brussels to decide how we run domestic services in Sweden," says Peter Larsson.

After the Swedish aviation sector was deregulated in the 1990s, the traffic on many small airports greatly reduced. For air transport to continue to run, Dalaflyget which owns airports in Borlänge and Mora for example, received an annual subvention of Skr20 million by local governments in the region.

"Without this support we would not have any air transport at all in Dalarna," says CEO Lars Ivarsson of Dalaflyget and continues:
"A ban on aid to Swedish airports is a blow below the belt, small airports are extremely important for the regional economy," says Ivarsson to Swedish television.

The EU Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, who is leading the work to develop the new guidelines, believes that there is an establishment of regional airports in Europe, and many receive hidden subsidies. Almunia wants "balance" between fair competition and the regional airports, reports Swedish television.
by Scancomark.com Team

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