Regional airports and air services (recorded on Wednesday 09/05):
- extracts from the report by Philip BRADBOURN (ECR, UK)
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - EP
End production: 10/05/2012 First transmission: 10/05/2012
With EU help, regional airports could do much more to boost local economies and ease air traffic congestion at key hubs, say MEPs in a resolution to be voted on Thursday. Ground and air transport networks should be better integrated to make smaller airports more competitive and attractive to travellers, says the draft report.
Regional airports are crucial to the EU's territorial cohesion and economic diversification, says rapporteur Philip Bradbourn (ECR, UK). They attract businesses, make regions more popular with tourists and improve quality of life for citizens. They also create jobs, and if are not economically viable then they should get public funding, as their survival is in the public interest, say MEPs.
Rather than build new airports, the EU should help to strengthen links between existing regional ones so as to relieve bottleneck situations at hub airports.
The resolution calls for clear rules to keep low-cost-airlines from dominating or tarnishing the image of local airports, by imposing unfair conditions on them or their passengers. Baggage-weight checks when entering the plane should be forbidden, as this prevents travellers from buying goods at the airport, they claim.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||External shot of the EP, Brussels
||SOUNDBITE (English) Philip BRADBOURN (ECR, UK) Rapporteur: "The financial and sovereign debt crisis has substantially changed the conditions of financing regional airports. This must be counteracted by a removal of economic barriers and a better definition of their role in the transport network. Indeed, I strongly believe that regional airports need to be seen as integral part of the trans-European network rather than somewhere away in the periphery. By bringing regional airports closer into the transport network we can provide the incentive to industry to better integrate cross modes and develop benefits for our citizens, for example by a multi-modal ticketing, as cited in the report".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Philip BRADBOURN (ECR, UK) Rapporteur: "This report calls to companies to offer all passengers a method of credit or debit card payment that is free and to include any unavoidable administration fees in the headline price. It's important that people know what they will be paying and not find that the cost of their ticket increased through the entire process".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Philip BRADBOURN (ECR, UK) Rapporteur: "The report also calls for airport retail purchases to be treated as separate to the 'one-bag' rule. The strict application of the so-called 'one-bag' rule as it stands is used as a tool in some cases to increase profits at the detriment to consumers".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Philip BRADBOURN (ECR, UK) Rapporteur: "I strongly believe that regional airports and air services have a role to play in reinvigorating our economy as part of a well functioning transport network. Therefore I call on the Commission to listen to what we are saying in the Parliament. The Commission must be bold and take action to the benefit of consumers, the travelling public and the many businesses that flourish by having access to airports and air services".
||SOUNDBITE (German) Hubert PIRKER (EPP, AT): "We need to make clear that these regional airports should not end up just becoming monuments for local politicians. They really need in the medium term to be able to pay their way through profitability and efficiency".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Karel DE GUCHT, Commissioner: "The role of regional airports in territorial cohesion and in inter-connecting EU and countries must remain a guiding principle of the review of the compatibility conditions. But we cannot ignore the fact that unlawful public subsidies distort competition at several levels, between airlines and between airports. We need to agree on common and simple rules on a matter that affects the sustainability of the EU aviation market".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Karel DE GUCHT, Commissioner: "Inter-modality is at the heart of our transports policy. The report calls for regional airports to be taken into account in the future trans-European transport network policy. It is at the heart of the 'ten-t' policy to ensure that these airports are properly connected to the whole transport network. But we need to go beyond infrastructure, we need the technology and innovative services, and we will continue working on an integrated ticketing, the concept of a pan-European multi-modal planning, ticketing and billing system for passenger's transport".
||Cutaway (1 shot)