Competition and regulation in the European airport sector
Over the past twenty years the airports sector has faced important changes linked to the liberalization of the sector and to the deregulation of the airlines market. The main changes have touched the governance structure (privatization) and the regulation of the industry. Experts and economist do not agree on the outcomes of such transformation process, in terms both of allocative and productive efficiency. The debate on the industry performance is strictly linked to the issue of regulation: in this work we present and discuss the main arguments against the need for regulation as well as these that support the opportunity of regulating the sector. Moreover, we discuss pros and cons of the most common regulatory approaches adopted and we briefly describe the regulatory settings implemented by some of the most important European countries. Finally, we discuss the policy implications stemming from other our own empirical works which, if confirmed by further evidence, support the non-regulating view: it seems that the liberalization of the sector, together with the airlines market deregulation (and the associated entry of low cost airlines), has generated a tightening in the competitive pressure which prevents airports to abuse their market power and induce lower charges and higher quality.
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