19/01/2012 01:38 GMT | Updated 19/01/2012 02:15 GMT

Civil Aviation Bill Changes Must Protect Regional Airports, MPs Say

Proposed changes to aviation regulation must not jeopardise security or harm small airports' viability, MPs warned today.

The changes being considered should include improving immigration and baggage-handling at airports, a report by the House of Commons Transport Committee said.

A requirement for air transport providers to publicise consumer and environmental information could "create bureaucracy and additional costs to the aviation industry", the report added.

The committee also said steps should be taken to stop the possibility of airports and airlines using "frivolous or vexatious appeals to delay licence conditions to which they are opposed, to the detriment of users of airport transport users".

The committee's report examined the Government's Draft Civil Aviation Bill, which includes plans to transfer responsibility for regulating aviation security from the Department for Transport to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The committee said there was a danger that the aviation industry would incur the additional costs of security regulation but not benefit from any savings made.

Launching the report today, committee chairman Louise Ellman (Lab, Liverpool Riverside) said: "Reform of the way that airports are regulated is needed. It is important, however, that changes made in this area deliver real benefits for passengers.

"Reforms must not push up costs for the aviation industry, particularly for the smaller regional airports which are finding the present economic conditions challenging.

"We also believe that if the Government is serious about improving the passenger experience, it should extend new information requirements to the UK Borders Agency."

Mrs Ellman continued: "Ministers need to provide greater clarity about how retaining security policy within government but passing operational delivery to the CAA will not jeopardise security standards at UK airports."