Committee of Transport and Tourism
The European Parliament has given the green light to new regulations for allocating flight slots and permitted noise levels at EU airports to maximise capacity, cut delays while protecting people living in flight corridors.
|Phil Bennion MEP with Nick Clegg meeting bosses at Birmingham Airport. Phil wants better rail connections and multi-hubbing to boost regional airports.|
Commenting on the proposed airport package approved by MEPs today, Lib Dem European transport spokesman Phil Bennion MEP said:
"Europe is in serious danger of losing a major slice of the aviation market due to the constraints of airport capacity. In many areas building new runways and investing in new airport infrastructures is not an option. A revised system of slot allocation is a pragmatic and realistic response to maximise existing airport capacity.
"We also need to combine these measures with better connections between rail and air travel, and look into innovative solutions such as multi-hubbing and combined ticketing to make better use of spare capacity at regional airports.
"Birmingham airport is a key example of what could be done. Once high speed trains start running on HS2, the huge reduction in journey times could alleviate congestion at Heathrow. With trains taking 38 minutes to London Euston and 33 minutes if a spur is built to Heathrow, Birmingham could become in effect a fourth London airport."
Studies suggest Europe could see a doubling of air traffic by 2030 and increased competition in the world aviation market from regions such as Asia and the Middle East.
The West Midlands region MEP added: "We need to divert short haul traffic to rail where possible, both to ease capacity and to cut carbon emissions, but medium and long haul traffic levels overall are likely to rise. Good air transport links are vital for trade and investment."
Commenting on the proposals for noise-related operating restrictions, Dr Bennion said:
"We need to follow a global approach that takes into account both the effect of noise on the quality of life of residents and the importance of air services and aviation. We need to phase out the noisiest aircraft and at the same time give airlines certainty and continuity in the way regulations at European level deal with airport noise."