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Thomas Reynaert is the managing director of Airlines for Europe (A4E).
As summer holidays continue on across Europe, more than 200 million people are expected to travel through European skies in the coming weeks. Flying has never been so cheap, safe and convenient. Not only are European cities closer to each other than they ever have been, but passengers enjoy an unprecedented and ever-growing choice in terms of where and how they fly.
The good news is that airfares continue to go down. Over the last ten years, they have fallen by 20%. The bad news is, existing regulation from Brussels protects airport shareholders over European passengers by guaranteeing excessive profits rather than incentivising lower charges for the benefit of travellers. This summer, European passengers will again pay much more than they would if monopoly airports were effectively regulated.
In part, the issue is quite simple: should what passengers spend at airports serve to lower the price of their tickets? Or should the profits made by an airport on what passengers spend on parking spaces, shopping, and overpriced coffees and burgers only benefit the airport shareholders?
This is the economic aberration issue known as “dual till”. Under such a system, commercial profits made by airports are not taken into account to determine the level of charges that airlines — and ultimately their passengers — must pay to use an airport.