Refunding of investments in inland waterways is partly through tolls and fees (e.g. For using
locks), but mainly from the general federal budget. As in the case of rail infrastructure, part of
this is financed through revenues from the mineral oil taxes in the framework of an integrated
multi-modal approach. Partly due to historical reasons in international agreements, inland
waterway shipping is exempt from mineral oil tax.
The refunding of airport investments is mainly through user costs (landing charges etc.) and
airport services (rents from retail etc.). Hopf et al. (2003) estimate for the 17 international
airports in Germany in the year 2001 the infrastructure related costs of air traffic (airports and
facilities, air traffic control, meteorological services) had been in total recovered from user
However, infrastructure developments at airports are still subsidised from state budgets
and in particular is seen as critical for the recent development of expanding regional airports
(see e.g. European Commissions decision on Charleroi airport). Smaller (regional) airports
receive on average subsidies of 5.9 Euro for investments and 3.3 Euro for operation per
passenger equivalent (Heymann and Vollenkemper, 2005). Since air transport is exempt from
mineral oil tax and international flights exempt from VAT, this can be regarded as indirect
subsidies from the general public budget. As privatisation is an increasing source of funding
for investments in airports.
Generally, the chances for success are as greatest for larger
airports. However, there is felt to be some danger that larger airports can exercise their market
power against the interests of their customers (airlines) and hence some form of price
regulation seems necessary (von Hirschhausen, 2004). This would require a transfer of some
regulatory power from the federal states to a central regulation agency for efficiency reasons.