Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2009-10-07-Speech-3-258"

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"Madam President, Commissioner, the fact that the obligations of airlines to their passengers do not terminate even if the airline goes bankrupt is obvious, and should be taken as a starting point in this much needed discussion which Mr Simpson has initiated. Therefore, it was with amazement that I listened to the explanations of the SkyEurope spokesman. Ronald Schranz expressed regret at the inconvenience which had arisen for passengers. I stress the word ‘inconvenience’. He also stated that clients of the bankrupt enterprise who were waiting at foreign airports would have to look themselves for alternative ways to get home. According to the spokesman, the matter concerned several thousand people, but he was not able to give their precise number. For the SkyEurope representative, this was only a statistic. He forgot, however, that included in that number were many thousands of personal dramas, of passengers who could not get home, to their family or to work. This example shows that it is necessary to regulate this matter as soon as possible. SkyEurope was a listed company, and so we had more information about it. In the case of other cut-price airlines, this is not always so. It may be that the recent Bratislava nightmare will be repeated at another European airport. At the moment, a heated discussion is in progress, in which different solutions to this important problem are being proposed. There is talk of a special fund created from a surcharge on air tickets, and also of bankruptcy insurance. These are valuable initiatives, but they are not without effect on the price of tickets. At a time of crisis we need a procedure which, on the one hand, will help passengers and, on the other, will not complicate the already difficult financial situation of airlines. I should like, therefore, to put a question and a proposal to the Commissioner: could a partial solution not be the idea of ‘sky solidarity’, which would incorporate the principle of joint responsibility of airlines for passengers? Yes, solidarity, an idea which is, to me, as a Pole, especially dear. It should be an answer and a challenge which can be applied immediately. My proposal is based on the idea that passengers of a bankrupt airline who are stranded at an airport would be able to use the aircraft of another airline flying in the same direction, on condition, of course, that there are vacant seats on board. Any costs involved would be settled between the airlines concerned. I would like to ask the Commissioner for a reply."@en1

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