Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-14-Speech-1-137"

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". Mr President, airports have much more influence on our economy, our spatial planning, our traffic on the ground and our environment than we could have foreseen in the past. Large airports with an important role as international transfer hubs, or as entry points to major conurbations have developed into shopping centres, business locations for offices and distribution companies, hubs for public transport on the ground and tollgates to the surrounding area. They are either an important policy instrument in the hands of the authorities or they have been sold to an international company that seeks only profit and expansion. They also make profits outside the aviation sector, engage in international competition and find themselves involved in conflicts of interest with airlines, passengers, other users and local residents. Airports can be misused, because they can force every party that is dependent on them, from airline to passenger, to contribute disproportionately to their profit. These expensive airports also lead to the development of smaller competing airports nearby, with lower charges, poorer facilities, taking up even more space and resulting in even more areas suffering nuisance. If the European Union regulates the income of airports, this should not be in order to safeguard the profits of these companies or to limit airlines’ costs, and nor should it be in order to strengthen aviation by offering passengers the lowest possible fares. The aim must be to protect the environment as much as possible from the unremitting expansion of aviation and to promote safety in the best possible way. It should also be about transparency, so that flows of funds and unwarranted differences in rates of charges can no longer be covered up as business secrets. An outcome is now taking shape in which airports with between 1 and 5 million passengers per year will not be covered by these rules. It would not surprise me if this resulted in more investment in smaller airports in densely populated areas. On other aspects too, such as the complaints procedure, the stringency of standards and the level of profits, the text will be moderated in comparison with the original Commission proposal. I anticipate that this will lead to the persistence of abuses and within a few years the demand for stricter rules will increase."@en1

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