The Italian airport system features a complex and significantly changing regulatory framework, in which national provisions combine with EU directives and regulations established under international treaties and upon which privatisation and concentration processes involving a number of large domestic airports also impact.
The following principal new legislative issues were introduced in 2013 within the air transport sector:
Presidential Decree of October 29, 2013 – Standardisation of take-off and landing fees for inter-EU flights and non-EU flights at Italian airports
With the publication of eight decrees in the Official Gazette of October 31, 2013, the Italian Government brought an end to the infraction procedure taken by the European Commission against Italy, which considered the differentiation between inter-EU and non-EU take-off and landing fees applied by Italy since 2001 based on the origin/destination of flights as illegal. The Italian Authorities identified as a solution the interruption of the infraction procedure through the issue of 8 provisions – 5 Inter-Ministerial Decrees and 3 Presidential Decrees - which modified the existing Legislation and the Application Guidelines, in addition to altering the take-off and landing fees for each Operator, in force under both the original and supplementary Regulatory Agreement.
The Presidential Decree of October 29, 2013 concerning the supplementary Regulatory Agreement in force between ENAC and SEA includes new take-off and landing fee tables which categorise inter-EU and non-EU flights together, in substitution of attachment 10 of the Regulatory Agreement and indicates the new fees which will enter into force from January 1, 2014.
Destination Italy Decree
On December 24 Legislative Decree No. 145, (the so-called Destination Italy Decree), published on December 23, entered into force, containing Article 13 – Urgent measures for EXPO 2015, for public works in relation to air transport – which seeks to transparently and within an openly competitive environment govern the selection process by airport managers of airlines for the receipt of grants for the introduction and development of routes which satisfy the demand of their respective user bases. The selection process must be executed in line with the Guidelines to be drawn up and adopted by the Ministry for Infrastructure and Transport within thirty days from publication of the Decree.
The full impact of this provision for SEA is not yet assessable as, also due to a number of amendments introduced on its enactment, the Guidelines have not yet been published. The potentially most significant features would appear to be the possible obligation to select grant beneficiaries through tender and the compatibility of existing contracts.
Security check services
Law No. 125 of October 30, 2013 converted, with amendments, Legislative Decree No. 101 of 31/08/2013, enacting urgent Provisions for the restructuring of Public Administrations. In particular, the provisions of Article 6 concerning airport control were confirmed, which at paragraph 1 introduced the option for ENAC to award to the airport manager the security checks on crew, personnel and staff, in addition to vehicles accessing areas of the airport close to the public. On 5/12/2013, at the second round table meeting on air transport organised by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport with the sector organisations, Assaeroporti highlighted that the awarding of the security control service to security staff (scheduled for 2014) will increase the costs of the airport management companies (an estimated approx. Euro 400,000 per security gate) and currently a viable tariff structure for recovery of the costs has not yet been established. For SEA, in particular, it will be necessary to adjust the Regulatory Agreement to introduce the provision.
ENAC issued the new Circular APT 02 B in relation to the Certification and supervision of ground assistance airport service providers, published on November 22, 2013 and entering into force at that date. The new Circular amends the regulation concerning new regulations, including the latest addition of the ENAC Regulation on handling and the various judgments adopted. The Circular was overall positive in regards to the charges imposed on companies intending to certify themselves to operate on the ground assistance market at Italian airports, also in relation to newly-incorporated companies. However, a series of information and analysis is required as part of the certification procedure.
Principal airport regulation bodies
The National Body for Civil Aviation is a non-profit public body which represents, on the basis of Article 687 of the Navigation Code, “the only authority for the technical regulation, certification, oversight and control of the civil aviation sector”, which operates in compliance with the powers established by the Ministry for Infrastructure and Transport.
ENAC operates in compliance with EU regulations, in addition to the standards indicated by the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) and by the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency). The principal areas for intervention by ENAC in relation to airport management companies are:
Safety and Security
This concerns the duty of ENAC to guarantee, through regulation and control activity, user safety, both in terms of “safety” – i.e. the protection of the individual involved in aeronautic operations – and in terms of “security”, i.e. the prevention and neutralisation of illegal acts which may impact airports or aircraft.
Control of service quality provided to passengers
In order to guarantee quality standards and Passenger rights, ENAC set and verifies the airport and air transport service quality parameters.
In relation to the activities concerning the economic aspects, ENAC evaluates the airport intervention programmes and the drawing up of investment and development proposals for the infrastructural and operating system. The process for the awarding under concession of airport structures and services, which are carried out according to the evaluation on the reliability, efficiency and competitiveness of the economic actors and businesses involved, also falls within the remit of ENAC.
ENAC is involved in the drawing up of planning and development proposals for the domestic airport system. It examines and reviews airport development projects, intervention programmes and airport investment plans. In addition, it manages the allocation of airport assets, the fixing of the zone limits of airports and the definition of the parameters for the setting of airport capacity in order to manage time slots.
Despite the international and EU aeronautic sector regulation, this activity represents a principal function of ENAC, which avails of proposal and participation powers in the address, planning and guaranteeing of air transport and airport system development.
Ministry for Transport
The Ministry for Transport and Navigation primarily exercises duties of oversight, guidelines and control of ENAC activities. ENAC and the Ministry for Infrastructure and Transport collaborate to:
- plan the organisation of air transport;
- plan and develop the airport sector;
- prepare international and bi-lateral agreements;
- develop regulations in line with international principles and provisions;
- study particular sector issues.
The ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organisation) is the specialised Agency of the United Nations, whose mission is to develop an international civil aviation management system which is both secure and efficient, in addition to being sustainable. The ICAO’s activities concern the drawing up and updating of aeronautic sector regulations, incorporated by 190 States in order to guarantee a minimum level of security.
The European Air Security Agency is a legal body which is involved in setting common levels of security and environmental protection in the civil aviation sector for European Union countries.
The International Flight Assistance Body is a company, entirely held by the Ministry for the Economy and Finance and overseen by the Ministry for Infrastructure and Transport, which, also according to the navigation code, provides air navigation services.
Assoclearance is the Italian Association for the Management of Clearance and Slots, comprising airlines and Italian airport managers, with the duty to optimise distribution of time slots and allocate slots to airlines, taking account of demands and historical data. The Association provides ENAC with timely and precise information concerning the list of time slots allocated and the relative changes during the season of individual airport traffic, also in consideration of the recent ENAC circular which provides for the issue of penalties to operators not in compliance with EU and national regulations.
The Regional Agency for the Protection of the Environment (ARPA) is a public body with independent administrative, organisational and accounting functions, which implements activities and services in support of the environmental policies of the Regions, the Provinces, the Municipalities, the Mountain Communities, the Healthcare boards and of other regional public bodies.
The activities of ARPA are based on the approach proposed by the most recent national and European regulations: to collate and draw up founded and reliable environmental data in order to assist governance bodies in their decisions on the region and for the citizen to assist their awareness and analysis. ARPA is extensively involved in the Airport Commission activities and in terms of noise pollution carries out a periodic control on the monitoring carried out within the region.
Other institutional bodies
At the airport a significant number of other institutional bodies are present: ENAC, Carabinieri (Police), the Customs Authority, Finance Police, State Police, Prison Police, the State Forestry Body, Air Safety, Veterinary Office and the Fire Service, which contribute, each within their own mission, to the proper performance of the airport and with whom the airport operator undertakes actions of reciprocal collaboration.