This paper examines the current capacity of the EU's airport infrastructure and the main factors determining that capacity. The nature and role of airport services are detailed. The determination of capacity is examined with discussion of the influence which air traffic control factors, demand characteristics, environmental conditions and engineering design will have on capacity. The methods used to assess delay are detailed along with extensive data sketching the current state of Europe's system of large airports and the extent of infrastructure congestion. The options available to policy makers to improve the management and organisation of capacity are set out and critically discussed.
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