The Commission has reached three important decisions relating to
groundhandling services, such as baggage handling, runway
operation, refuelling, handling of freight and postal services,
cleaning, and the provision of catering services.
The Commission has made a decision in response to
complaints by several airlines that Frankfurt airport was 'abusing
its dominant position' by not granting to airlines the right to
provide groundhandling services themselves nor giving access to
other companies to provide such services. The Commission upheld the
complaints and rejected Frankfurt airport's arguments that
constraints on space and capacity justified the monopoly.
In 1996 the Council issued a Directive on
liberalisation in the groundhandling market. The German authorities
requested a derogation for Frankfurt airport from this Directive,
aimed at safeguarding the current monopoly until the year 2000. The
Commission rejected that application save only for the grant of a
partial exemption for terminal one because of heavy construction
work in that terminal.
The Commission has also decided on a German request
for a derogation from the Directive in the case of Dusseldorf
airport. The Commission has approved the request for a derogation
until the end of 1999 in view of space and capacity constraints
created by the consequences of a fire in 1996. The space
requirements of provisional alternatives to the buildings destroyed
by the fire and of the reconstruction works make it impossible to
implement the Directive timetable.