EP calls for measures to boost EU aviation sector and fight unfair competition

To boost the EU’s air transport economy, the EU needs to ensure a level playing field, while upholding high safety and social standards, says Parliament in a resolution passed on Wednesday and intended to feed into the Commission’s forthcoming aviation package.

The resolution was passed by 428 votes to 149, with 53 abstentions.

To safeguard fair competition in the EU’s external aviation relations and ensure a level playing field for European airlines and airports, comprehensive aviation agreements with the EU’s major trading partners must be negotiated, says Parliament. It expresses concern at the loss of competitiveness of EU airlines and airports “vis-Ã -vis subsidised third-country carriers and airports”.

To be effective in practice, these aviation agreements must include a safeguard clause that defines an offence and the legal consequences of its violation, the resolution says. Parliament also wants the Commission to revise existing rules in order to tackle more effectively unfair practices that distort the market, such as subsidies and state aid awarded to airlines from non-EU countries.

Improve management of airspace and airport services

Member states should speed up the application of the Single European Sky rules as the existing fragmentation of European airspace is a major burden on European air carriers, says Parliament. It also urges them to come forward with a position on clarifying passenger rights rules and on the proposed landing and take-off slots regulation intended to help improve the performance of airports.

Maintain current level of working conditions and social standards

The current EU rules on working conditions, standards and practices must be maintained in order to continue attracting highly skilled professionals to the aviation sector, the resolution says. Parliament believes that the use of “socially problematic” business practices such as “flags of convenience”, and atypical forms of employment such as bogus self-employment, pay-to-fly schemes and zero-hours contracts, may also have safety implications.

Expand role of European Aviation Safety Agency

Parliament welcomes the intention to increase the responsibilities of the European Aviation Safety Agency. It wants the rules to be revised to ensure that a comprehensive safety management system is set up and entrust the EASA with the safety aspects of EU security measures and of commercial space transport and drones.

It also calls on the Commission to take measures to improve the medical assessment of pilots and the security, entry and exit procedures relating to cockpit doors.

Originally published on Bloomberg.com