Airlines based outside the EU could face protectionist measures against them after the European Parliament’s Transport Committee voted to update the EU’s competition rules today.

The revision to the EU’s aviation rules would allow the EU Commission to impose penalties on third-country airlines before complaints against them have been properly investigated. The plans would also allow the Commission to sanction airlines flying under Member States own bilateral aviation deals.


Conservative Transport Spokesman, Jacqueline Foster MEP, said: “MEPs have really scored a hat-trick today by backing revisions that could increase ticket prices for consumers, cost jobs and send a protectionist message to our partners around the globe.

“This revision would enable uncompetitive European airlines to complain about their rivals and give the EU Commission the power to punish them before reviewing the evidence. It's right we crack down on unfair competition but it is outright protectionist to sanction airlines, who may not be guilty, before their case has been heard.

“Consumers benefit from having access to airlines from around the world; it drives down prices, provides greater choice and a better service. 

“The EU should not be interfering in Member States own bilateral aviation agreements. It’s a clear power grab by the Commission to claim the right to investigate these agreements and impose penalties on airlines.” 

She added: "The UK has a world class aerospace industry providing thousands of high skilled jobs, with customers around the globe. If the Commission starts cracking down on our trade partners unfairly, it jeopardises those trade links, putting British jobs at risk."