No State Aids for failing airlines

Rt. Hon Sir Robert Atkins MEP (North West), Conservative Transport Spokesman in the European Parliament, today welcomed the policy statements made by Transport Commissioner Palacio about State aids for failing airlines and the completion of the Single European Sky in air traffic management.

"No state aid for the likes of Sabena and Aer Lingus, both loss-making airlines, is a fair and reasonable response consistent with EU law" commented Sir Robert, "whilst at the same time allowing Member States to assist all or any airlines which suffered specific difficulties during the four days when U.S. airspace was closed."

"It is right that help should be allowed with the huge increases in War Risk Insurance and also with tighter, and therefore more costly, security that will be required from now on" he continued, "but not to bale out operations which were experiencing competitive market pressures before September 11th."

The former Minister for Aerospace was also very pleased to hear the firm proposals being put forward to achieve a Single European Sky in air traffic control.

"As Rapporteur for this policy in the European Parliament, I am delighted that almost all my suggestions have been included in the Commission Document, suggestions strongly supported by airlines, airport operators and almost everyone else in the aviation industry. The sooner this is up and operating the better" concluded Sir Robert, "then the problems of congestion, inconvenience to the travelling public and excessive costs to the industry will begin to improve."

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