Greater European airline liberalisation covering airport slots and ground handling is being urged by EasyJet.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall called on the European Union to “break down the remaining walls of protectionism” in European aviation.

Her intervention comes as the European Commission works on a package of measures on slots, ground handling and airport noise which could change the way these areas are regulated across Europe from 2014.

The budget carrier is concerned that some elements of the airports package proposals rely too heavily on extra rules that will reduce its ability to serve its passengers well and make it more difficult to keep prices at a “reasonable level”.

On take off and landing slots, EasyJet is encouraging the EU to press ahead with reform of slot allocation to enable new entrants to build up enough frequencies to mount serious challenges to legacy airlines.

It “strongly supports” an increase in the new entrant threshold in order to promote stronger challengers to the established carriers and secondary trading to encourage the efficient use of slots.

Speaking at the European Aviation Club, McCall said: “Despite the best intentions of Europe’s single aviation market we too often find that we are being held back by the defensive walls of protectionism which still shield airports, airlines and ground handling from the benefits of true and full competition.

“In particular, Europe must now press ahead with reform of the allocation of slots at airports to enable new entrants to build up enough frequencies to mount serious challenges to the legacy operators and overhaul the archaic practices around ground handling to ensure there is real competition at every airport.

“If the EU pushes through these reforms European consumers will benefit from more new routes, more services and lower fares.”