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Minor improvements to ground handling services following Strasbourg vote

A European regulation aimed at opening up the provision of ground handling services at airports to greater competition is a timid step, but better than nothing, European Conservatives and Reformists MEPs said today.

A European regulation aimed at opening up the provision of ground handling services at airports to greater competition is a timid step, but better than nothing, European Conservatives and Reformists MEPs said today.

Despite the efforts of mainly left wing, Union-backed political groups to scupper the plans in today’s vote, the European Parliament reached agreement. The regulation would open the market by requiring large airports (over 15 million passengers) to operate with at least three ground-handling providers, rather than only two – thus increasing competition and providing a better service for consumers.

ECR shadow rapporteur Peter Van Dalen said:

“Although the proposal does not go far enough in further opening the ground-handling market for free competition, it is a positive step forward to ensure that in coming years any market liberalisation at all takes place. Remaining monopolies in a few of the largest European airports must be eradicated. By increasing the number of providers both quality of services can be improved and prices reduced.”

ECR transport spokesman Roberts Zile said:

“The ECR group did not support the overzealous proposals to regulate ground handlers’ conditions that are not present in any other business sector. We also do not support a common extensive list of minimum quality standards for all European airports as these standards are developed by each individual airport. However, opening the ground handling market in large European airports is needed and is in the interest of passengers. We believe that these controversial issues can be solved during further negotiations between the Parliament and the Council.”

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