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Press release

Parliament votes on strict rules for 'Sky Marshals'

Transport - 15-06-2006 - 14:13
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Parliament is insisting on strict regulation of the use of ‘Sky Marshals’ on board aircraft. This is one of the amendments adopted by MEPs to Commission plans to update the common EU aviation security rules introduced after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. The issue now goes before the plenary session.

The first reading report, drawn up by Paolo COSTA (ALDE, IT), concerns measures aimed to protect against “acts of unlawful interference that jeopardise the security of civil aviation.”  The draft regulation aims to ensure common rules regarding checks, searches, surveillance, prohibited items, security patrols and other aspects of airport and aircraft security are correctly applied by Member States, airports and airlines.
For the first time, European rules will cover security measures during flights, including in-flight security officers.  ‘Sky marshals’, as they are commonly known, will have to be properly trained and MEPs insist that weapons “shall not be carried on board an aircraft, unless the required security conditions have been fulfilled, and authorisation has been given by the State granting the operating licence to the air carrier concerned”.  They demand prior approval by the State of departure, by the State of arrival and, where applicable, by “any State which is over flown or where intermediate stops are made”.  No Member State will be obliged to accept in-flight security officers.  Among other issues, the House says passengers whose behaviour is “manifestly abnormal and threatens to compromise the security of a flight” will be subjected to appropriate security measures during the flight.
MEPs decided that the costs of the security measures should be met by airline users and Member States, though if a Member State wants to impose even more stringent measures, it will have to cover the whole cost.  The report stresses that security taxes and charges must be used “exclusively to meet airport or on board aircraft security costs”.  To avoid any distortions in the market, they call on the Commission to propose a uniform system for the financing of airport security measures.
REF.: 20060609IPR08838