MEPs have been attacked for voting to increase red tape and costs to airline passengers through the amendments introduced to the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) basic regulation.

Airline lobby group Airlines for Europe (A4E) criticised amendments approved by the European Parliament which it claims will not improve safety standards but will “increase the bill paid by passengers to fund bureaucracy”.

Areas of concern for A4E include the “non-transparent” transfer of air navigation charges to fund EASA and the rejection of a European Commission proposal to streamline the aircraft leasing approval process in case of unforeseen circumstances to mitigate disruptions, both of which will lead to additional costs to customers.

A4E managing director Thomas Reynaert said: “It is really disappointing that MEPs have largely ignored the expertise of the airline industry and have voted to support red tape and higher costs to passengers.

“The rejection of the Commission’s proposal to streamline the airplane leasing approval process in case of unforeseen circumstances will hamper airlines’ ability to provide fast and effective assistance to customers when there are disruptions.

“We are doing our best to address our passengers’ needs, while MEPs are simply reject lifting unnecessary administrative burdens.” 

He added: “Safety is our primary objective and we will continue to engage fully during the next stage of the legislative process.

“It is, however, imperative that our extensive operational experience and expertise is taken into consideration to improve safety standards and passengers are not asked to bear the costs.”