Latest update January 2017: please see below for more details
ERA members serve parts of Europe where air transport is both vital and often the only mode available to citizens in remote regions, islands and dispersed areas. ERA therefore welcomed the European Commission’s acknowledgement, in its Aviation Strategy document (published in December 2015), of the value of regional connectivity as emphasised in its Vision document (http://www.eraa.org/sites/default/files/era_vision_2016.pdf).
ERA urges EU decision makers to propose new policies to promote and encourage European connectivity through the greater use of Public Service Obligation (PSO) instruments and to be consistent in the application of PSO legislation across EU member states.
ERA members recommend the Commission ensures that a more transparent, non-discriminatory, uniform and consistent implementation and enforcement of existing PSO rules across Europe are delivered.
Although additional efforts are needed for further consistency in its implementation and enforcement, the existing EU legislation on PSO (Regulation 1008/2008) has largely proved fit for purpose in:
- ensuring connectivity when the market does not deliver it;
- ensuring connectivity at a relatively low cost (approximately €300m a year across Europe) when compared to the huge amount of subsidies received by other modes of transport;
- ensuring connectivity through a transparent, non-discriminatory and open selection process or publication of PSO notices.
Latest update January 2017: Last August, ERA submitted its comments on the European Commission’s draft text of Guidelines on Public Service Obligation (PSO) legislation.
The new guidelines, to be published in early 2017, are expected to bring greater transparency, consistency and clarity to EU airlines and Member States’ authorities as to how the Commission interprets the current rules.
More clarity for both states and the airlines should ultimately lead to better air services and increased connectivity across Europe.
ERA has also produced a concise and comprehensive “PSO brochure” to provide members with further guidance on this specific subject. The document was published on the ERA website in January 2017: http://www.eraa.org/sites/default/files/170105_pb_pso_brochure_2016.pdf