Failure to provide requisite public air transport services to the airport situated on the remote island of Kalymnos

30 May 2016
E-004308-16
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Notis Marias (ECR)

Under the current public services agreement, scheduled air services must be provided within Greece in accordance with Articles 16, 17 and 18 of Regulation (EC) 1008/2008. This includes flights to the airport situated on the remote island of Kalymnos currently provided by a 37-seat aircraft.

The current agreement with the Civil Aviation Authority for the period 2012-2016 provides for 392 return flights annually between Athens and Kalymnos and 124 return flights to the other Dodecanese islands. The new schedule drawn up by the Civil Aviation Authority with a view to the issuing of an invitation to tender for the provision of scheduled air services on 28 routes provides for only 232 return flights between Athens and Kalymnos and only 48 between the Dodecanese islands themselves.

In view of this and the remote location of the island of Kalymnos:

1. Does the Commission consider the above reduction in scheduled air services to and from Kalymnos Airport to be consistent with Regulation (EC) 1008/2008 and Article 174 TFEU?
2. What measures could be taken and what funding provided to ensure the continued frequency of essential air services to and from Kalymnos?

 

Answer given by Ms Bulc on behalf of the Commission
1.  The Commission is aware of the need to ensure adequate connectivity within the EU, particularly from and to remote regions like islands. The Member States have the competence for defining their own needs in terms of public service obligations. In accordance with Regulation (EC) 1008/2008(1), such obligation should only be imposed to the extent necessary to ensure on the routes concerned the minimum provisions of scheduled air services satisfying fixed standards of continuity, regularity pricing or minimum capacity. While doing this, the Member States need to consider their budgetary constraints for provision of funding for operation of these routes, in case no carrier is interested in serving them on commercial basis.

2. Member States can provide support for the transport of remote regions, including islands, also in the form of social aid for transport for residents of remote regions.

(1) Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24.9.2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community (Recast) (Text with EEA relevance), OJ L 293, 31.10.2008, p. 3‐20.

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