Boost for regional airports key to ensure EU cohesion policy
Gan Corlett Neil - Tel:+32 2 284 20 77
Today the European Parliament approved a report on the future of regional airports. The text sets out for the first time a framework and a definition for regional airports, which are increasingly proving to be key in boosting competitiveness and in promoting European regional development.
MEP Giommaria Uggias (Italia dei Valori, Italy) ALDE spokesperson on this dossier said: "With this report the European Parliament stresses the vital role that regional airports can play in reinforcing European cohesion policy and EU territorial continuity. In addition, regional airports can act as catalysts for the creation of new jobs, especially in the most depressed and less developed areas of Europe ".
However, the report advocates a balanced approach to the revision of the aviation guidelines and set out a limit against a "proliferation" of new regional airports which could result in an economic burden for the regions opting to have one without having sufficient traffic to feed it.
"We also gave particular attention to the subject of restrictive policies adopted by some low cost airline companies, which have an impact on passengers, namely the size and weight of luggage. We believe that these practices not only make travelling more difficult but they also have a negative impact on airport business and prejudice regional airport revenues".
Indeed the report calls on Member States to set common upper limits to be imposed on airlines with regard to such restrictions.
"Not least important is the urgent need for ensuring intermodality. Currently, passengers have to face a number of difficulties to reach their final destination once they have landed, due to the lack of strategic intermodal connections. This is why it is necessary to improve the existing interconnections and develop them others where they are missing. It must not be forgotten that the economic system of certain remote regions of the EU depends entirely on transport access", Uggias concluded.
This report sends a strong signal to the Commission to revise certain aspects linked to aviation transport system in order to make regional airports and the services they provide more attractive to passengers.