Airports must "get serious" about planning for this kind of severe weather conditions. We have seen in recent years that snow in Western Europe is not such an exceptional circumstance. Better preparedness, in line with what is done in Northern Europe is not an optional extra, it must be planned for and with the necessary investment, particularly on the side of the airports.
We need to ensure that, from infrastructure providers such as airports and rail infrastructure manages, there are appropriate service levels and minimum quality requirements that are followed and delivered . If there is a need for support from the European Commission in terms of regulation on minimum service requirements for airports in this area, I am prepared to do that, for example, when we bring forward the Airports package on slots and groundhandling which is foreseen before summer next year.
First I want to hear the views of the airport operators and the different practices in place across Europe. We must look at the issue across the whole travel chain and make sure possible loopholes and weak links are identified and closed.
At this time, it does not seem to be an issue for the airlines as they want to fly, fly safely and do all they can as well caring for the passengers. What is necessary is that the expectations from everybody must be reasonable and proportionate.
Finally, when it comes to passenger rights, Europe has put in place a safety net of rights designed to help passengers in cases of difficulties with issues such as overbooking or cancellations. Since early this year, that safety net of rights also covers rail passengers, and in the future will extend to ship, inland waterways bus and coaches. What we need for the future is to make sure that there is proportionate responsibility and risk sharing between all the operators in the supply chain, in particular when it comes to air travel, and this includes also passengers. I intend to address this issue during next year.
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