Violation or strengthening of the self-financing doctrine at international airports by SMCP funded PPP schemes?
International airports are among the few examples of transport infrastructures which can well achieve self-financing. The growing interest of private companies in airport construction and operation is the visible testimony to this fact. However, the financing structures of airports are complex, involving not only traffic, passenger and goods handling, but also non-aviation services, such as retail, car parking or intermodal facilities. The integration of social marginal cost pricing schemes into this organizational structure according to the strategic plans of the European Commission, however, is challenging. This paper investigates whether they comply with a second strategic policy objective at European and national level, which is to foster public-private partnerships (PPPs) in transport financing in terms of full cost coverage, risks and incentives.The cases analysed in this paper deal with two sites with very different characteristics: Munich Airport which has been publicly operated since 1991 and the Bulgarian airports Varna and Burgas, which have been managed since 2007 by one concessionaire and whose planning and future development is being accomplished with private capital. The results of both cases showed that self-financing is possible in case congestion costs are considered in the SMCP schemes, and given that air traffic growth rates return to the significant levels prior to the economic crisis. The chapter will discuss the legal implications of congestion pricing at European airports which are violating current EC legislation, as well as the impact of alternative pricing schemes on the environmental performance and technological innovation in aviation.