The European Commission speaks out!

Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures were still severely disrupting air traffic in Europe on Tuesday, with Germany particularly badly hit as European officials criticized airport authorities for failing to prepare for the bad weather…….Brussels airport cancelled flights because it was running out of deicing fluid,…….

As the disruption continued, the European Commission criticized airport operators in western Europe for being ill-prepared to cope with bad weather.

The commission, the European Union\’s executive arm, may draft new rules if airport operators can\’t voluntarily take action to plan better for severe weather, Siim Kallas, the commission\’s transport-policy chief, said in a statement.

\”I am extremely concerned about the level of disruption to travel across Europe caused by severe snow,\” Mr. Kallas said. \”It is unacceptable and should not happen again.\”

Would it be impolite of me to point out that the European officials, European Commission and Siim Kallas are all highly likely to be trying to use that closed Brussels airport to get home for the holidays?

Economic tradeoffs about extreme and rare weather be damned when it\’s only the taxpayers\’ money being wasted to reunite a politician with his Saturnalia Feast, eh?

8 thoughts on “The European Commission speaks out!”

  1. i think that’s exactly what this is.

    Several European laws are directly attributable to the lifestyle of euro politicians and commission bureaucrats – limits on roaming fees is one, and probably airline passenger rights after cancelled or delayed flights, is another.

    the roaming fees one is interesting – very hard to get at any other way than a Europe-wide rule, very hard to stir up enough anger about, with the phone companies all ripping off each other’s customers.

    But this one, meh. Either we’ll get used to the chaos or the airports will invest and it’ll go away.

  2. Not only that Tim, but part of the blame for the airport’s inability to deal with the snow must lie with the way in which the EU has so pushed it’s climate change agenda.

    Under the weight off so much propaganda it is no surprise that they might have believed that winters were a thing of the past, and thus would not have made the preperations that would once have been regarded as normal. It is no surprise to discover that Stokholm Airport is still operational.

  3. Too true. Unlike the refugee like proles starnded in the Terminals, I expect all MEPs are able to put the 3000 Euro taxi fare home on their expense accounts, plus paid travelling time and overtime on their timesheets.

  4. Plus the fact that it seems that all the airports were relying on the Met forecast of a mild winter.
    Which they deny of course but the blogosphere knows better – and has the evidence.

  5. That would be Siim Kallas, formerly of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

    Now THEY knew a thing or two about working through snow . . . . .

  6. i think that’s exactly what this is. Several European laws are directly attributable to the lifestyle of euro politicians and commission bureaucrats – limits on roaming fees is one, and probably airline passenger rights after cancelled or delayed flights, is another. the roaming fees one is interesting – very hard to get at any other way than a Europe-wide rule, very hard to stir up enough anger about, with the phone companies all ripping off each other’s customers. But this one, meh. Either we’ll get used to the chaos or the airports will invest and it’ll go away.

  7. A food example of how the media, even the most nominally marketist like thje WSJ automatically give primary space to the most useless of politicians.

    One could, with infinitely greater reason, have had an article quoting “friends” of people in the airline industry saying what is needed is for the people doing the work to take back more powers from the politicos who have been insisting they prepare for catastrophic warming & thereby proving themselves unable to work usefully with them on avoiding every other sort of weather (& volcanos as seen earlier).

  8. Neil, what the blazes are you talking about?

    The reason why LHR was unusable last week isn’t that BAA has spent all its money preparing for climate change (given that Heathrow’s 25m above sea level, I’m not sure there’s much they could do). It’s that BAA hasn’t spent any of its money on snow clearing equipment, but has instead used it to pay dividends.

    Which, in turn, is because it’s a barely-regulated monopoly, and therefore only considers the private cost to itself of transport carnage, not the cost to customers (who it doesn’t have to compensate for loss-of-earnings, and who don’t have any other real options. If a couple of small foreign airlines drop their LHR flights in favour of connections from AMS or CDG, then BAA will have no problem at all replacing them), or the cost to society at large.

    This is why, when private monopolies exist, regulation is necessary – BAA should be compelled to deliver certain service levels, and bad weather performance should be benchmarked against how other major airports perform under the same conditions (the alternative is nationalisation, but nationalised airports – particularly when owned by central governments – tend to suck hard because of the obvious reasons everyone here will recognise).

    AGW has absolutely fuck all to do with anything, and the concept that BAA is overregulated is a complete and utter joke. And yes, this is something that people I know in the airline industry would absolutely agree with, compared with *nobody at all* in the airline industry who’d take your view.

    Tim adds: When defining a monopoly it’s rather necessary to define the extent of the market which is being monopolised. Harrods has a monopoly on being Harrods: Harvey Nicks reduces the monopoly Harrods has on pretentious west London stores.

    Heathrow obviously has a monopoly on being Heathrow. But until very recently the company, BAA, also owned Gatwick and Stanstead, giving it a near monopoly of a much larger market: “real airports near London”. (That’s being unkind to Luton but not all that unkind).

    Yes, greater regulation of that larger monopoly probably was necessary. Or perhaps what actually happened, which was the introduction of competition into that larger market.

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