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Dec 19, 2013

EP TRAN Committee recognises right for carriage of musical instruments on airplanes

The International Federation of musicians (FIM) and Pearle*-Live Performance Europe welcome the vote by the Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament, on 17 December 2013, of amendments to the “Revised Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 on air carrier liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage by air”.
Mobility is absolutely vital to individual musicians, music ensembles, orchestras or bands, whose national and international careers rely largely on tours and concerts abroad. In 2012, a petition coordinated by FIM and supported by Pearle* attracted more than 43,000 signatures in just a few weeks, which drew attention to the specific needs of the music sector. The EU Commission’s proposal, as amended by the TRAN Committee, provides an adequate answer to the concerns expressed, via a limited set of practical rules governing the carrying of musical instruments in the aircraft’s cabin. The TRAN amendments, in line with the EU Commission’s objectives, further improve transparency and predictability in this respect, without creating any particular burden for airline companies.

Benoît Machuel, Secretary general of FIM explains: “An instrument often has a high monetary, artistic and historic value and it may take months or years for a musician to find the adequate instrument. Several hours of daily practice make the relationship between the performer and his instrument a symbiotic one. Restrictions applying to the carrying of instruments have become a serious hindrance to the mobility of artists within EU and throughout the world, either because it is just impossible to carry the instrument on-board or because the additional price to pay makes the travel too expensive to be satisfactorily covered by the performer's revenues or by the organiser or employer who invites the musician.”
Catherine Baumann, president of Pearle* adds: “the vote of the Transport committee is a step in the right direction, as it acknowledges the need to facilitate air transport of musical instruments and will increase legal certainty across Europe. As such, musicians and concert tour organisers will no longer depend on the airline policy of one particular company as regards the right to carry an instrument or the goodwill of airline staff.”
FIM and Pearle call on the ministers of Transport as well as the members of the EU Parliament in view of the vote in Plenary on 4 February 2014, to endorse the text voted by the EP Transport and Tourism Committee, thus ensuring legal certainty and information transparency, as well as facilitating the professional mobility of musicians, in the interest of both the music sector and its audiences.

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