“In the next few years, every European airport will have its own minimum standards that will have to be respected by the ground-handling companies willing to operate at the airport. This will include i.e. the maximum waiting time for baggage check-in, maximum time for delivery of first and last items of baggage, minimum stock of de-icing fluid at each airport or a minimum number of staff members able to provide information at the gate”, said Artur Zasada MEP, Rapporteur on the ground-handling services at European airports Report adopted today by the Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament.
“I proposed an annex to the main part of the Regulation in which, after consulting airports, airlines and companies that provide ground-handling services, I suggested an extensive list of minimum quality standards to improve the level of services at European airports”, explained Artur Zasada.
For several years now, the majority of ground-handling services at European airports has been provided by specialised companies. They are responsible for several activities, such as the transportation of passengers from terminals to the aircraft, unloading and loading baggage, de-icing or the maintenance of the aircraft.
“When luggage is lost at the airport, passengers often blame the airline or the airport. This is not entirely correct. More often than not, the faceless company offering this type of service at the airport is at fault”, added Artur Zasada.
Another aspect of this Report is the number of specialist companies at the airport. Today, Member States may limit the number to two providers. Nevertheless, there are some airports in Europe which provide ground-handling services by themselves, which could lead to a monopoly type situation. “In my proposal, I raised the minimum number of providers to three for the airports with over 15 million passengers per year. Thus, by increasing the number of providers, we can both improve quality and lower prices”, said Artur Zasada.
In addition, the Report assumes one approval procedure for the companies from different Member States. This means, for example, that an Italian company dealing with baggage handling at the airport in Rome will be able to provide their services at any other airport in any other country in the European Union.
The Report adopted today is part of the so-called airport package – one on allocation of slots and the other on the introduction of noise-related restrictions at EU airports.
The final vote on ground-handling services at European airports will take place in April 2013.