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Clause 18 - Licence conditions

Part of Civil Aviation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:45 pm on 1st March 2012.

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Photo of Gavin Shuker Gavin Shuker Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 1:45 pm, 1st March 2012

Yes, I do. Frankly, I do not believe that this would place an additional regulatory burden. A licence is already a complex document, subject to deep legal scrutiny, and the process of negotiation with the  CAA will take time. I do not believe it is beyond our remit to ask for an additional requirement. Requiring the holder of a licence to develop passenger welfare plans is not only about regulation or securing a level playing field; it is about the common levels of decency we would expect from an airport in a first-world country, as my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton West said. I concede that many airports do this, so let us create a level playing field and ensure that every passenger flying from this country has access to a passenger welfare plan.

Amendment 20 requires licence holders to provide support for passengers stranded at airports. Luton airport is in my constituency and I am proud to use it For me, there is no problem being stranded there, because I can easily walk the three or four miles home—I have done so when the airport has been subject to flooding. For those undertaking the return journey or flying in from Europe on low-cost budget airlines, knowing that that airport has already undertaken the deep work and that it can be held to account for both the quality and the provision of a stranded passenger plan is really important. It is a way we can, in the absence of a broader aviation policy from the Government, at least seek to ensure that our airports are still attractive to travellers coming from abroad.

In summary I believe these are helpful amendments. They do not place an overbearing burden within a structure in which we already ask for a lot of information, expect high standards and require a detailed licensing regime to be put in place. It is within the remit of this Committee to ask for that.