ACI Europe met with MEPs last night to strongly support the abolition of the so-called one-bag rule adopted by some airlines.
Arnaud Feist, ACI Europe President & CEO of Brussels Airport Company took the opportunity to raise a number of issues, including state aid, the one-bag rule and noise in the presence of an influential audience, comprising Members of the European Parliament, plus European Commission and EUROCONTROL representatives.
Speaking at an evening reception hosted by Georges Bach MEP (Luxembourg) and also attended by the ACI Europe Board representing 22 airports Feist commended the work already done by Bach as rapporteur on the Passenger Rights Regulations.
Feist (inset) said he supported the MEP’s proposal to outlaw the ‘abusive one bag rule’ which a few ‘dominant airlines’ have been using to prevent passengers from taking their airport purchases on board – unless they fit in the airline’s own cabin bags – thus boosting their own in-flight sales.
In language that has been a long-time coming for many in the industry, he said: “Many of our airports are confronted by airlines implementing the abusive one-bag rule every day. It is causing a lot of stress and inconvenience for passengers.
PASSENGER CONFUSION REIGNS
“We see that even some passengers flying on airlines not applying the one bag rule are wary of buying at the airport, because of the confusion this situation is creating. There is little doubt that this practice downgrades the travelling experience.
“It also threatens our ability to modernize and develop our infrastructure through commercial revenues. This absolutely must be recognised and resolved by the Parliament and the Council.”
Recognising the need to ban the one-bag rule so as to protect passenger rights, Georges Bach MEP (shown here), commented: “As the rapporteur on the issue of air passengers’ rights, my objective is to put the passenger at the centre of interest of this directive and to strengthen his rights when it comes to application and implementation of the European laws.”
STATE AID GUIDELINES
In addition to these very welcome comments, the issue of state aid guidelines for aviation was also raised, ahead of the expected adoption in a few weeks’ time. Feist said that a final result must be found that strikes the right balance between competition and the role of airports for economic development and job creation.
He said: “The industry needs State aid rules that are fairer, more transparent and more effective. While the Commission has worked along these lines, we still have concerns about the impact of the new rules on our communities. Many MEPs share these concerns.
“They have publicly called on President Barroso not to cause a shutdown in Europe by imposing unrealistic limitations on the financing of smaller airports. The implications go beyond the aviation sector. This is about promoting growth and protecting jobs across Europe’s regions.”
Lastly, Feist reiterated ACI Europe’s support for the Commission’s proposal on aviation noise, but called for an authoritative agreed methodology to accurately assess this impact. Without this, any health assessments would almost certainly be challenged in court, he said.