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Thursday 10th May 2012 | 12:22
Conservative MEP Philip Bradbourn's campaign to boost the profile and fortunes of Britain's regional airports took a major step forward today when his key report was adopted by the European Parliament.
Mr Bradbourn, MEP for the West Midlands, is pushing for a range of measures to tackle economic barriers to regional aviation and make local airports easier to use.
His report was approved today at a plenary session of the European parliament in Brussels, which means the European Commission must now draft proposed legislation to address the issues raised.
Mr Bradbourn believes regional airports can play a key role in easing congestion at bigger national air-transport hubs and in driving economic growth - but at present they are an underused resource.
The Parliament backed his call for better price-transparency and an end to extra charges for passengers paying by credit or debit card, which at present can cost as much as £15 with some carriers. His report also calls for a Europe-wide system of through ticketing to allow customers to plan and purchase their complete journey in one simple transaction - including train or coach to and from the airport at either end.
The report also demands an end to the so-called one-bag rule which some carriers use to stop passengers taking aboard purchases made in airport shops.
Mr Bradbourn said: "The great potential of our regional airports is being sadly underplayed. They could be the key to reducing the congestion that is choking airports in our capital cities and they could make travel much easier for millions.
"At the same time they can become catalyst for regional growth, if only they could be freed from come of the restrictions this report seeks to tackle.
"Passengers need crystal-clear ticketing - with all costs included upfront - that covers rail and coach links from their neighbourhood.
"Regional airports also need a fair deal commercially. At present many accept very meagre landing charges in return for the retail footfall that creates - but then they are undermined by low-cost carriers who stop passengers using terminal shops by counting their purchases as a second piece of hand-luggage - and charging them up to £30 to take it on board.
Regional airports deserve a new deal and that is what my report aims to provide."