Q: Isabella Adinolfi (NI, IT) - Air travel for pets (2019-12-19)

Q: Isabella Adinolfi (Non-attached, IT) - Air travel for pets (2019-12-19)

Travelling with pets has become a lot easier since the harmonisation of rules on journeys with pet animals and the introduction of the European pet passport.

However, many EU nationals are still unable to travel with their four-legged friends, particularly if the journey is by plane.

Not all airlines will accept pets and those that do place restrictions on the weight and number of animals allowed in the aircraft cabin. All other animals must travel in the hold as cargo.

Animals are sentient beings, as affirmed in Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty, and travelling in the hold may cause them to suffer physical and/or psychological trauma.

In view of this:

1. Will the Commission take steps regarding the legislation in force such that all airlines are obliged to accept animals on board their flights?

2. Will it allow larger animals also to travel safely in the aircraft cabin with their owners?

3. Will it ensure that prices for their pet’s ticket shall be set at a level all citizens can afford?

A: Ms Vălean on behalf of the European Commission

Whether and under which conditions it is permitted to travel with animals by air is a commercial decision for air carriers. Air carriers are free to decide on the terms applicable to the transport of animals taking into account, for example, the aircraft type, safety requirements and airport capacity to handle animal transport. Therefore, the Commission does not plan to take steps regarding a general obligation to accept animals on board an aircraft, nor to allow larger animals to travel in the aircraft cabin with their owners.

However, it should be noted that regulation (EC) No 1107/2006[1] obliges air carriers to accommodate the assistance dogs of persons with disabilities and reduced mobility on-board at no additional cost subject to pre-notification to the carrier, and subject to any applicable national legislation on the carriage of animals.

With regard to the pricing of animal transport, Article 22 of the Air Service Regulation (EC) 1008/2008[2] establishes the principle of pricing freedom for air carriers. Any regulation of the ticket price for pets would accordingly be contrary to the regulation and the general competition rules. Thus, the Commission does not plan to take action on the price alignment as referred to by the Honourable Member.

[1] Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air (Text with EEA relevance) OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 1‐9

[2] Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community, OJ L 293, 31.10.2008, p. 3‐20 .