European Parliament Gives Ground Handling Reforms More Time

The European Commission issued the following news release:

The European Parliament voted today on proposed measures to help increase the capacity of Europe's airports, reduce delays and improve the quality of services offered to passengers. In its vote on the "airports package" the Parliament gave strong support for the Commission's proposals to improve slot allocation as well as to improve the transparency of noise decisions. The Parliament referred the proposals on ground handling back to the Parliamentary Committee for further consideration.

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "Today we have taken a step forward to finding positive solutions to the challenges facing airports on slots and noise. That is important progress. We need to work further to find common ground to tackle the problems of quality and efficiency in ground handling. 70% of delays happen on the ground not in the air - those problems will not go away on their own. I am fully committed to work with the European Parliament to find a way forwards".

On slots

The Parliament voted to support the Commission's proposals for the introduction of secondary trading in slots which goes to the heart of the slot proposals. It added additional measures to strengthen the Commission's proposals on the independence of the slot coordinators across Europe and higher transparency of information regarding slot allocation.

The Parliament voted to back the current slot utilisation rules (80%-20% "use it or lose it" rule), as well as the current slot series length. The Parliament voted in favour of sanctions for late hand-back of slots by airlines.

On ground-handling

The Commission proposals aim to improve the quality and efficiency of ground handling services at airports.

The Parliament voted to refer this proposal back to Committee for further consideration.

On noise

The Parliament supported the Commission proposals to increase the transparency in the process of setting noise-related restrictions at airports.

For more information on the "airports package" and on the slots, ground handling and noise proposals see background MEMO/12/947

Next steps

Reaching the political agreement for slots and noise in the Council. On ground handling, the Parliamentary Committee will provide an opinion in accordance with the Parliament's internal procedures.

Contact: Dale Kidd, +32/2-295-74-61

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