Continued interference by the European Union is now threatening to destroy parts of the British commercial airline industry, UKIP’s Transport spokesman Jill Seymour has warned. New EU rules mean helicopter pilots will soon be prevented from using elevated landing pads unless they have spent up to £30,000 on officially approved engine monitoring equipment.
Mrs Seymour has joined forces with London UKIP MEP Gerard Batten, asking the EU Commissioner and Minister for Transport to waive the condition, contained in the Single European Rules Of The Air document.
“This is yet another unnecessary EU rule which no member of the British public has demanded, and which is now threatening to destroy another UK industry,” she said.
“It means that some commercial air transport operators could be prevented from using important facilities like the London Heliport without spending thousands of pounds on monitoring equipment, and getting it approved by the Civil Aviation Authority.
“Heliport operators, and commercial air businesses, quite understandably feel these regulations have been introduced with little or no consultation.
“As a result, the EU clearly hasn’t even paused to consider the implications which this will have on the livelihoods of many of the industries concerned.”
Mrs Seymour added: “There are already plenty of rules and regulations in place to ensure safety of commercial air travel in Britain, and the system has been working perfectly well for years.”
Bosses at the London Heliport have told UKIP that the rules look set to make a big dent into their income – since their landing platform stands over the rising and falling tidal River Thames.
An exemption which allows current rules to continue ends on August 31, after which time the future is uncertain for operators seeking to use the London Heliport.
The raised helipad over the Thames is used not only by the global business community but also senior government ministers including the Prime Minister.
Mrs Seymour added: “Whilst the new regulation may have good intentions, it will hit smaller individual operators less likely to be able to afford the requested upgrades, and cause unnecessary inconvenience to businesses.
“The feeling among those I have spoken to in the industry is that it will also reduce the availability of so-called ‘entry-level’ helicopters to members of the public who wish to book charter flights.”
UKIP London MEP Gerard Batten said: “I am afraid that this is the result of one-size-fits all EU legislation. I am constantly written to by businesses and organisations that experience problems with the same root cause.”