6-May-2010 9:41 AM

Airport security: EU states should bear cost of extra measures

European Parliament announced (05-May-2010) aviation security measures that go beyond basic EU requirements - such as body scanners - should be paid for by member states, rather than airlines or passengers, when it approved a draft directive on aviation security charges. As states in the Council are opposed to public funding of security charges, this law is likely to go to a second reading. MEPs have stated that states should remain free to decide how to share the cost of basic measures covered by existing EU rules (metal and explosive detectors, sniffer dogs, hand searches, liquid screeners) but should be required to foot the bill if they choose to introduce body scanners, for instance, which are not yet listed as a standard EU security technique. Many EU governments are opposed to a directive that would require public financing of security charges, since they are currently free to apply their own rules: in most cases the airport authorities now pass on the security costs to airlines, which then pass them on to passengers. The amended directive also stipulates which information airports should provide to airlines each year, and vice versa, so that the level of security charges resulting from commercial agreements between them is justified and based on objective criteria. Information about security charges levied by particular airports and airlines should be publicly accessible, whereas all other information "shall be regarded as confidential or economically sensitive and handled accordingly", says the EP amendment. [more]