Airport retail purchases need to be treated as essential items that passengers should be allowed to take on board, in addition to the cabin baggage allowances set by airlines.
Philip Bradbourn MEP

EUROPE. British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Philip Bradbourn has underlined concerns about the need to decisively address the ‘one-bag rule’ at Europe’s airports.

He was speaking at the sixth annual ACI Europe Regional Airports Conference & Exhibition, held in Lyon this week. In an update today, ACI Europe highlighted the ‘one-bag rule’ as one of the issues affecting the growth of regional airports.

The “˜one-bag rule’ imposed by airlines entitles passengers to just one item of hand luggage, obliging them to pay extra to carry duty free purchases onboard. The rule was outlawed in Spain in 2010 (though Ryanair has persisted in opposing the rule) but other countries have yet to follow this example.

Bradbourn said: “The European Parliament has been clear about the need to ban the abusive “˜one-bag rule’ applied by certain low cost airlines. This practice is hurting air passengers in many places across Europe and also reflects dominant market position.

“My colleagues in the European Parliament and I have great concerns that these practices are detrimental to the consumer and we will be looking carefully at the new legislative proposal from the European Commission on passenger rights to see that it addresses this issue once and for all. Airport retail purchases need to be treated as essential items that passengers should be allowed to take on board, in addition to the cabin baggage allowances set by airlines.”

The European Commission last month proposed a series of amendments to legislation on air passenger rights, although it did not include any provisions on hand luggage restrictions.

Bradbourn has previously been vocal about the need to tackle the ‘one-bag rule’, including it in his report on the ‘Future of regional airports and air services in the EU’. This report was adopted by the European Parliament last year, as reported.


Other issues highlighted by ACI Europe in Lyon included the forthcoming revision by the European Commission of its State Aid Guidelines on aviation.

“The stricter rules on the public funding of airport infrastructure, currently being contemplated by the European Commission, risk having a detrimental impact on small regional airports – decreasing connectivity with understandably damaging consequences for surrounding communities and economies,” said ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec.

“This would fly entirely in the face of the EU’s much talked about Growth & Jobs agenda. Given what’s at stake, we need full policy alignment.”

Jankovec added: “Regional airports have gained more visibility in the EU context, notably thanks to last year’s European Parliament report which addressed their future. We have also seen EU regulations occasionally becoming more considerate of smaller airports in the fields of safety and security.

“Lastly, the European Commission’s efforts to open market access across the Mediterranean and to the East will bring new business opportunities for these airports, given the proximity of these markets. However, we are still missing a consistent and proactive EU policy supporting regional airports.”

According to ACI Europe, regional airports have been the “most dynamic segment of the European airport industry” over the past 15 years in terms of passenger growth. It cited data on international passenger traffic growth, showing +79% growth over 10 years for airports with less than 5 million passengers year and +135% for airports with less than 1 million passengers.