Airport Regions Council, the European association of cities and regions with an
airport in their territory, welcomes the revision of the TENT-T guidelines launched by
the European Commission in April 2019 since transport, and in general, mobility is a
key aspect of the relations between any airport and its region, and this explains why
ARC has developed studies, organised events and participated in EU funded projects
focused on this issue.
Airport regions are, in general, the main nodes of transport in Europe as they include
long haul journeys from the other side of the world to all transport modes to connect
with downtown, cities around and economic areas around the airport platform. This is
the main reason ARC values the main objective of TEN-T: to create European added
value by creating cohesion (between long-distance traffic and local and regional traffic),
by adding efficiency (through connections of nodes and stimulation of new innovative
technologies), by striving for sustainability (by lowering emissions and external costs of
traffic), and by adding more benefits for its users.
ARC would like to stress some aspects of revision:
a) General aspects
Improving multi-level governance for better implementation
Improving the governance of TEN-T policy and urban nodes is the best and only way
for the good implementation of future projects. Regional and local authorities play a
key role in the management and development of transport systems, and as such, their
empowerment should be strengthened.
Improving the coordination between European Commission initiatives
The European Commission has taken several initiatives to address transport-related
issues. The new TEN-T guidelines should help achieve the ambitious goals set out by
these various initiatives and recent communications.
Developing stronger synergies with other EU programmes
ARC and its members participate in different EU programmes and projects, and we
consider that to take full advantage, synergies should be promoted.
b) Regarding airport regions
Expanding the definition of urban nodes and introducing specific criteria
To accelerate the transformations needed in the transport system to meet the 2030 and
2050 objectives in the TEN-T policy, the definition of urban nodes should be expanded,
and a new set of selection criteria needs to be implemented. And in this sense, we
consider that airport regions should be included as they incorporate almost all modes of
transport. The future of mobility and the whole chain of the transport system, including first and last-mile journeys, would also benefit from strengthening innovation in urban
nodes. Similarly, it would contribute to the decarbonisation of the transport system by
addressing alternative fuel infrastructure and vehicles (taking into account the Clean
Vehicle Directive) and new energy sources. Accelerating the deployment of alternative
fuel infrastructures would also increase the resilience of the transport system, making it
less dependent on a single mode or fuel. Regional and local authorities in the
agglomerations of urban nodes are nevertheless still facing a challenge in paving the
way for (the public acceptance of) new innovative modalities, while the density and
frequency of transport flows are going up in a growing urban area and the accessibility
and connectivity of urban areas are under constant pressure.
Giving urban nodes the same importance as other priorities in the TEN-T guidelines
This would ensure that they meet current and future challenges while providing smart,
efficient, and sustainable transport. Urban nodes are essential for the effectiveness of
European transport corridors as well as for regional development and social cohesion;
they carry similar weight for freight and logistics, acting both as connecting points and
“first and last miles” of long-distance journeys. These reasons show evidence that urban
nodes will carry even more importance in the future to provide a clean, efficient, and
sustainable transport system to the benefit of all citizens. As such, urban nodes are part
of the DNA of the transport policy and equal priority should be given to urban nodes as
other priorities in the regulation.
Increasing emphasis on intermodality and achieving a modal shift
Intermodality will boost the modal shift from private and more pollutant modes to those
that are more likely to fit into the goals of the Green Deal. These modes must be the key
to increase transport efficiency.
Giving equal priority to urban nodes as other priorities in the regulation
Strengthening the priority of urban nodes would especially:
Improve the international accessibility for urban regions
Reinforce the capacity and efficiency of existing corridors
Support the decarbonisation of the transport system and address congestion
c) Regarding airports
Increasing the importance of airports
Airports play a key role and in many areas of Europe irreplaceable – islands, remote
places or places with difficult access – to guarantee social and economic cohesion. Only
air travel can guarantee round-trip trips in one day to economic and political centers
from anywhere on the continent. That is why TEN-T should indicate more lines of
action related to airport infrastructures in its new formulation. The increased support
must and can be accompanied by the development of a sustainable activity based on
clean energies (electricity, sustainable fuels and hydrogen).
Considering not only improving capacity if not maintaining it as a priority for
Due to the impact of Covid 19, a lot of airports have seen a dramatic and unpredictable
decrease in the number of flights and passengers. This situation can potentially prevent
airports, the key drivers of connectivity for many regions, from attracting/making the
investments needed to keep the airport open and/or fulfilling all safety and security
regulations. Investments that in all cases must safeguard and, if possible, improve the
quality of life of citizens living nearby, especially decreasing the noise impact.
Reviewing the requirement to be able to provide sustainable aviation fuel to
As it has been proved during the last years, all airports have the capacity to provide
sustainable aviation fuel as there is no need to change the already existing
infrastructure or to develop new ones.
Reviewing the classification of airports
The different considerations should be linked no only with the number of passengers
other aspects should be considered.