New rules governing allocation of runway slots and noise levels at EU airports should cut delays, Catherine Bearder MEP said today.
The European Parliament has agreed to a package of proposals aimed at alleviating pressure on airports and neighbouring communities.
Catherine said airports needed to improve to avoid disruptions to around 800 million passengers flying around Europe each year.
She said: "Europe is in serious danger of losing a major slice of the aviation market due to the constraints of airport capacity.
"In many areas building new runways and investing in new airport infrastructures is not an option. A revision of the current system of slot allocation is a pragmatic and realistic response to maximise airport capacity.
"We also need to combine these measures with better connections between rail and air travel and look into innovative solutions such as multi-hubbing and combined ticketing to make better use of our spare capacity at regional airports."
Europe is set to face a doubling of air traffic by 2030, as well as increased competition in the world aviation market from regions such as Asia and the Middle East.
Phil Bennion MEP, the Liberal Democrat European spokesman for transport, said: "It is fundamental to follow a global approach that takes into account both the effect of noise on the quality of life of citizens and the importance of air services and aviation.
"We need to take action to phase out the noisiest aircraft for the sake of our citizens and at the same time give airlines certainty and continuity in the way we deal with noise at airports."
In August, Catherine urged the Government to turn down plans for expansion of airports in the South East. Instead she called for better use of current capacity at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
- Here is the text of a speech Catherine to Lib Dem Autumn Conference in September: http://bearder.eu/en/article/2012/609400/blog-it-s-a-flat-no-to-new-runways-at-south-east-airports
- There is more detail about the decision here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/pressroom/content/20121207IPR04405/html/Airports-groundhandling-rules-need-further-debate-say-MEPs