Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2009-05-07-Speech-4-051"

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"Mr President, Mr Tajani, ladies and gentlemen, the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats supports the one-off suspension of the 80% minimum usage rule for the take-off and landing rights at airports granted to airlines for the 2010 summer flight programme and thanks the rapporteur, Mr Costa, for his speedy and effective handling of this dossier. The suspension now makes it possible for airlines to scrap flights in line with falling demand beyond the planned minimum usage without losing their take-off and landing rights for the next season. In my opinion, this is justified as a one-off, for one period, as the Vice-President said, because there has been an unforeseeable collapse in passenger numbers due to the international financial and economic crisis and because airlines cannot yet predict how passenger numbers will develop in the future. The suspension also helps to protect the environment, as airlines might otherwise feel obliged to fly half-empty aircraft just to keep their slots. Mr President, Mr Vice-President, at the outset the PPE-DE Group rejected the regulation also proposed by you of empowering the Commission, without genuine codecision on the part of Parliament, to demand the suspension of the rule simply in the comitology procedure. We believe that, if you intend to make such a proposal for the winter flight plan, Parliament will have to examine it carefully, because we would have to consider the interests of the many different types of airlines as well as the interests of airports and passengers more carefully. It is ‘yes’ to a one-off suspension but ‘no’ to the possibility of extension without the involvement of Parliament. In all honesty, I believe that, with swine flu appearing not to be as virulent as first feared, airlines will ultimately have to be able to anticipate what possible passenger numbers and relations to expect over the coming years. We must expect airlines to submit realistic plans so that airports have the opportunity to offer unused slots to other airlines. It must be in our interests that airports be able to use their capacities in the best interests of their customers, the passengers. I have one other comment on the new, fundamental revision of the Slots Directive. I believe that the slots belong to the public and not to the airports or the airlines, and that is why we must pay particular attention to this in the future. Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, as this debate, this plenary session and my parliamentary activity draw to a close, allow me to extend my sincerest thanks to my colleagues on the Committee on Transport and Tourism and in the secretariat of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as well as the chairman of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Vice-President of the Commission and his entire DG TREN team. We have spent the last five years working together in the interests of the citizens of the European Union. I will keep my fingers crossed for you that the next five years will bring more of the same. The Committee on Transport and Tourism is an important committee, and I thank you for your excellent cooperation."@en1

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