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Procedure : 2008/2134(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0501/2008

Texts tabled :

A6-0501/2008

Debates :

PV 02/02/2009 - 19

Votes :

PV 03/02/2009 - 6.5
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2009)0036

Texts adopted
PDF 107kDOC 56k
Tuesday, 3 February 2009 - Strasbourg Final edition
An agenda for sustainable future in general and business aviation
P6_TA(2009)0036A6-0501/2008

European Parliament resolution of 3 February 2009 on an Agenda for Sustainable Future in General and Business Aviation (2008/2134(INI))

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission of 11 January 2007 entitled "Agenda for Sustainable Future in General and Business Aviation" (COM(2007)0869),

–   having regard to the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2008 amending Regulations (EC) No 549/2004, (EC) No 550/2004, (EC) No 551/2004 and (EC) No 552/2004 in order to improve the performance and sustainability of the European aviation system (COM(2008)0388),

–   having regard to the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2008 amending Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 in the field of aerodromes, air traffic management and air navigation services and repealing Council Directive 2006/23/EC (COM(2008)0390),

–   having regard to Directive 2008/101/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to include aviation activities in the scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community(1) ,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 549/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 laying down the framework for the creation of the single European sky(2) , Regulation (EC) No 550/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 on the provision of air navigation services in the single European sky(3) , and Regulation (EC) No 551/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 on the organisation and the use of airspace in the single European sky(4) ,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 February 2008 on common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Aviation Safety Agency(5) (EASA Regulation),

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EEC) No 95/93 of 18 January 1993 on common rules for the allocation of slots at Community airports(6) (Slot Allocation Regulation),

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC) No 375/2007 of 30 March 2007 amending Regulation (EC) No 1702/2003 laying down implementing rules for the airworthiness and environmental certification of aircraft and related products, parts and appliances, as well as for the certification of design and production organisations(7) ,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC) No 376/2007 of 30 March 2007 amending Regulation (EC) No 2042/2003 on the continuing airworthiness of aircraft and aeronautical products, parts and appliances, and on the approval of organisations and personnel involved in these tasks(8) ,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 219/2007 of 27 February 2007 on the establishment of a Joint Undertaking to develop the new generation European air traffic management system (SESAR)(9) ,

–   having regard to the Cost Effective Small Aircraft (CESAR) project financed under the 6th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development,

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions of 25 June 2008 entitled "Single European Sky II : towards more sustainable and better performing aviation" (COM(2008)0389),

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 24 January 2007 entitled "An action plan for airport capacity, efficiency and safety in Europe" (COM(2006)0819),

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions of 30 April 2008 entitled "On the application of Regulation (EEC) No 95/93 on common rules for the allocation of slots at Community airports, as amended"(COM(2008)0227),

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission of 15 March 2007 entitled "State of progress with the project to implement the new generation European air traffic management system (SESAR)" (COM(2007)0103),

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A6-0501/2008),

A.   whereas general and business aviation comprises a variety of aircraft activities; whereas the term covers all civil aircraft operations other than commercial air transport, as well as on-demand, remunerated, civil air transport operations,

B.   whereas this sector also comprises high value activities as diverse as specialised aerial works (aerial cartography, agricultural flights, firefighting, traffic surveillance), aerial training and recreational flying,

C.   whereas there is currently a lack of data and statistical information on general and business aviation,

D.   whereas general and business aviation is the fastest growing segment of civil aviation in Europe; whereas general and business aviation complements regular air transport performed by commercial airlines and thus provides specific social and economic benefits such as increasing the mobility of citizens, the productivity of businesses and regional cohesion,

E.   whereas general and business aviation is of growing economic importance, in particular for the European manufacturing industry, which has continuously increased its share in the worldwide market and has considerable potential for further growth,

F.   whereas EU aviation policy has traditionally focussed on commercial air transport, while not giving due consideration to its growing impact on general and business aviation,

G.   whereas rules intended to govern the operation of highly complex commercial aircraft may place a disproportionate financial and regulatory burden on operators of small private aircraft; whereas, therefore, one-size-fits-all regulatory approaches and the uniform enforcement of rules across different aviation sectors have proven inappropriate in certain respects,

H.   whereas access to airspace and aerodromes is a key issue for general and business aviation, since there is a growing gap between demand and capacity; whereas general and business aviation is increasingly in competition for access to airspace and aerodromes with the wider airline industry,

1.  Broadly welcomes the Commission Communication on general and business aviation since it provides a sound analysis of the issues affecting the sector and identifies a number of suitable approaches for addressing the specific needs of this sector within a framework of permanent dialogue between all the stakeholders;

Proportionate regulation and subsidiarity

2.  Stresses the need to take into account the interests and specificities of general and business aviation in the development of future air transport policy initiatives, with a view to strengthening its competitiveness; in this respect calls on the Commission to ensure the application of the proportionality and subsidiarity principles in the design and implementation of both existing and future aviation legislation;

3.  Reminds the Commission of the need to carry out, on a systematic basis, segmented impact assessments to provide for differentiation of regulations affecting different categories of undertakings and airspace users, if necessary and in so far as this does not compromise safety;

4.  Calls on the Commission when adopting implementing rules on aviation safety, to ensure that they are proportionate and commensurate to the complexity of the respective category of aircraft and operation;

5.  Welcomes the recent adaptation of maintenance standards for aircraft not involved in commercial air transport and in particular for aircraft not classified as "complex motor-powered aircraft" as a good example of proportionate regulation;

6.  Considers that a degree of flexibility at the implementation stage would be desirable as far as general aviation is concerned; believes that this could be achieved by delegating certain supervisory powers to sports and recreational aviation associations and organisations subject to appropriate oversight by the relevant aviation authority and provided that there is no conflict of interests;

7.  Invites the Commission to examine the possibility of laying down simplified security procedures and screening processes for business aviation passengers without in any way compromising their security and safety;

8.  Suggests that the Commission facilitate the exchange of best practice on security measures at small to medium-sized airports;

Airport and airspace capacity

9.  Points out that it becomes increasingly difficult for general and business aviation to get access not only to major airports but also to regional airports as growing demand from commercial air transport is placing a strain on the availability of slots and parking stands;

10.  Urges the Commission and Member States, through their airport authorities, to tackle these problems by implementing measures to optimise the use of existing capacity by better planning and through the deployment of modern technologies, such as foreseen in the Commission Action Plan for airport capacity, efficiency and safety in Europe ("the Commission's Action Plan");

11.  Awaits the advice of the new Community Observatory on Airport Capacity on developing measures to improve the capacity of the European airport network and expects the observatory to play an important role in the implementation of the Commission's Action Plan;

12.  Believes that helicopters can be an important short-haul means of connecting between airports and urges the Commission and Member States to include them in capacity-enhancing strategies;

13.  Encourages Member States and regional and local authorities to invest in the modernisation and establishment of small and medium-sized airports, which are of major importance for general and business aviation;

14.  Encourages the Member States to invest in specific infrastructure necessary for the operation and stationing of aircraft in the field of general and business aviation;

15.  Encourages Member States,  as well as regional and local authorities, to involve all interested parties in consultation processes with a view to dedicating, where appropriate, potential or existing airports for use specifically by general and business aviation; where decommissioned military airports are concerned, the consultation should include military authorities;

16.  Considers it vitally important that airspace zoning around small and medium-sized airports be appropriate for general and business aviation users, and that any changes to such zones be preceded by a consultation with such users;

17.  Underlines that business aviation should be given, where possible, adequate access to major airports in order to enable it to connect Europe's regions to its economic centres and requests the Commission to examine and prepare a report to Parliament by the end of 2009 on whether there is a need to adapt relevant provisions of the existing Slot Allocation Regulation;

18.  Stresses the need to develop, at European level, a harmonised approach for guaranteeing consistency between airport slots and flight plans, calls on the Commission to propose appropriate measures and encourages the participation of the European airport coordinators in this matter;

19.  Expects that the introduction of a system of Air Traffic Management with state-of-the-art and innovative technologies within the framework of the SESAR Joint Undertaking would contribute to fighting fragmentation of European airspace and its forecasted congestion and would significantly increase airspace capacity, which will benefit all airspace users, including general and business aviation;

20.  Underlines, however, that the SESAR programme must fully take into account the specificities of general and business aviation and deliver real benefits to the sector without placing unnecessary burdens on it;

21.  Believes that it should be one of the objectives to provide Visual Flight Rules (VFR) users with access to traffic, meteorological and aeronautical information in a user-friendly and cost-effective way;

22.  Insists that the "Single European Sky" legislation and SESAR do not lead to disproportionate and excessively costly technological requirements for small aircraft operated under VFR, while fully recognising that all aircraft using controlled airspace must feature equipment providing for an adequate level of safety, such as positioning devices;

Environmental sustainability

23.  Considers that general and business aviation has a reduced environmental impact in terms of CO2 emissions and noise, when compared with that of commercial air transport;

24.  Believes it to be necessary, however, to reduce emissions through further enhancing the environmental performance of smaller aircraft by using cleaner fuels and by promoting research, technological development and innovation; in this respect stresses the importance of initiatives such as "Clean Sky" and CESAR;

25.  Notes that the majority of general and business aviation falls outside the scope of the Commission Directive to include aviation activities in the scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading;

26.  Is of the view that noise issues should be dealt with at national and local levels in accordance with the subsidiarity principle and considers that noise mapping is one of several tools providing for a balanced methodology to ensure airport development without causing significant noise pollution to local citizens;

Other issues

27.  Believes that policy-makers must have at their disposal adequate data and statistical information on general and business aviation in order to fully understand the sector and thus be able to regulate it properly; therefore calls on the Commission and Eurostat to develop and implement a systematic approach to the gathering and sharing of international and European data;

28.  Welcomes the Commission's clarification of legal definitions, including the definition of fractional ownership and recalls that the issue is addressed in the revised EASA Regulation and in the related implementing rules, which are currently under preparation;

29.  Calls on the Commission to take appropriate measures to facilitate access of the EU's general and business aviation manufacturing industry to world markets;

30.  Considers it necessary that the interests of general and business aviation are taken into account in the development of the EU's external aviation policy, in particular as regards transatlantic flights;

31.  Calls on the Commission to reinforce support for aeronautical research, development and innovation, in particular by SMEs that develop and build aircraft for general and business aviation;

32.  Considers as essential the promotion of recreational and sport aviation, as well as of European aeroclubs, which constitute an important source of professional skills for the entire aviation sector;

33.  Calls on the Commission to take account of the important role that this aviation sector plays and can continue to play in the development of vocational training for pilots;

34.  Requests the Commission to report back to the European Parliament by the end of 2009 on progress achieved in relation to the issues identified in this resolution;

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35.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 8, 13.1.2009, p. 3.
(2) OJ L 96, 31.3.2004, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 96, 31.3.2004, p. 10.
(4) OJ L 96, 31.3.2004, p. 20.
(5) OJ L 79, 19.3.2008, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 14, 22.1.1993, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 94, 4.4.2007, p. 3.
(8) OJ L 94, 4.4.2007, p. 18.
(9) OJ L 64, 2.3.2007, p. 1.

Last updated: 13 October 2009Legal notice