More than 80% of visitors to the UK arrive by air, approximately 250 million passengers and more than two million tonnes of freight.
Many of Europe's hub airports are facing serious capacity issues and for some, expansion is the only solution. However, for others, expansion is not an option. The main challenge for the growth of EU aviation is to address the capacity, efficiency and connectivity constraints which hold us back. The European Commission recently brought forward an Aviation Strategy to address these challenges and Jacqueline will look to ensure that it is followed up with concrete results by governments across Europe.
FOSTER Report: Safe use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems
Jacqueline secured an overwhelming majority for a crucial Parliamentary report on the expanding commercial use of RPAS (‘drones’) in civil aviation. The last 15 years has seen rapid growth in this sector, as technology developed primarily for military purposes is now being applied for commercial use, pushing technological boundaries.
The first ever report by the European Parliament to deal with this exciting and constantly evolving technology sought to ensure that any legislation brought forward by the European Commission takes a risk-based approach, without creating unnecessary red-tape for the industry.
The UK is already a world-leader in the innovation and development of drone technology, and the industry offers great scope for boosting jobs and growth. For example, the commercial market in the UK alone has more than 600 RPAS operations providing services from photography to land surveillance. RPAS have become an increasingly popular alternative to manned aircraft for aerial surveillance activities and increasingly, search and rescue and construction repair work, amongst other things.
However, we must ensure that safety is always paramount, and that we take a case-by-case rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to regulation.
As part of the preparation for this report, Jacqueline discussed fully with many British and European manufacturers, regulators, aviation authorities and operators. In addition, she liaised closely, in her capacity as an aviation specialist, with officials from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Jacqueline believes that the RPAS sector requires global rules in order to ensure cross-border RPAS development. If no action is taken soon, there is a risk that the economic potential and positive effects of RPAS will not be fully utilised.
FOSTER Report: Single European Sky (SES)
Jacqueline’s breakthrough report addressed congestion caused by the fragmentation of airspace. The so-called 'Single European Sky' will enable aircraft to fly more direct routes, reduce journey times, fuel burn and the cost to the passenger, whilst maintaining national sovereignty of airspace. It will also bring air traffic management systems into the 21st century with new technologies which we will export across the world. The UK Government fully supports this on-going legislation.
Unfortunately, this project is currently delayed by the unacceptable behaviour of the Spanish Government and Spanish MEPs who wish to exclude Gibraltar from the scope of Single European Sky. Jacqueline is leading the fight in the European Parliament against this attempt to play politics with Gibraltar’s sovereignty. She also believes developing our Regional Airports is a really effective way of helping to rebalance Britain's economy and to ensure that all regions share in economic growth. Good air links are one of the main issues for overseas investors when they are choosing where to locate.
In addition, Jacqueline is currently working on legislation dealing with the following:
- Aviation Security: addresses security requirements across the EU;
- External Aviation Policy: deals with Air Service Agreements that benefit the UK's airline industry;
- Passenger Rights: looks at greater transparency for travellers on ticket pricing and credit card charges.
As an aviation specialist and a huge supporter of this industry, and acknowledging the benefits of a competitive market, Jacqueline will continue to challenge unnecessary regulations.
Competition - new report imminent!
Jacqueline will soon be delivering a report on competition in the transport market across Europe. In her report, Jacqueline will make a series of recommendations on how best to address barriers to competition across all sectors, fight protectionism by vested interests and ensure a better outcome for the consumer.