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06 May 2009
A recent Council of State decision on airport tariffs promises significant changes to the terms on which airport management companies charge airlines for the use of utilities and services.
The court upheld an appeal by Italy's national association of air carriers and Italian airline Blue Panorama against a decision in favour of ENAC - the Italian Civil Aviation Authority - and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, among others.
The main part of the decision related to the terms on which Italian airport companies impose a fuel surcharge on airlines in respect of refuelling services. In 2006 and 2007 ENAC sought to establish a price structure for such surcharges, but the appellants argued that its criteria were inaccurate. In particular, the Council of State found that ENAC had erred in linking a fixed cost factor (ie, the airport's costs) to a variable factor (ie, the quantity of fuel supplied), rather than applying the principle of EU law that such a surcharge may be imposed only in strict correlation with the actual cost of supply. The court found that such a charge should be applied solely in order to cover such costs, which should be borne equitably by all the airlines in question. Instead, the airports had profited excessively by applying a scale of charges that rose progressively in respect of the amount of fuel used.
For further information on this topic please contact Laura Pierallini or Gianluigi Ascenzi at Studio Legale Cannata Pierallini by telephone (+39 06 88 41 713) or by fax (+39 06 88 40 249) or by email (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
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