Euro MPs back end to card fees and one cabin-bag rule

The transport committee of the European Parliament has approved measures that, if adopted by Brussels, would outlaw airline credit-card charges and end the one-cabin-bag rule of budget carriers.

A report on regional airports by Conservative MEP Philip Bradbourn, which recommends action on both counts, also calls for the cost of airport transfers to be incorporated into air fares.

Bradbourn, MEP for the West Midlands, told the committee the measures would boost regional airports and relieve pressure on congested airports such as Heathrow.

UK government ministers have argued regional airports can provide capacity to compensate for the block on expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

Bradbourn said: “Many regional airports have spare capacity and could provide a solution to the congestion affecting airports in capital cities. They can be a key driver of economic growth, but they are held back by economic constraints.”

He said regional airports frequently depend on revenue from catering and retail outlets to supplement landing charges pitched low to attract budget carriers. However, they struggle to raise sufficient turnover this way.

Bradbourn said: “Many low-cost carriers count airport purchases as a second piece of hand luggage and charge passengers up to £30 to take it on board.”

He added: “Passengers need to know exactly what they will pay at the time they book free from hidden charges piled on by low-cost carriers. The airports also need to be part of an integrated transport system which lets passengers buy a ticket door-to-door instead of airport-to-airport.”

Bradbourn’s report will now go before a full session of the European parliament.

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