Airline policies on the transportation of musical instruments could now be brought into line as pan-European regulation comes a step closer.

A proposal which would ensure that airlines accept smaller musical instruments into their passenger cabins has been given the support of the European Parliament. Under existing law each airline can set its own policy on musical instruments, with some refusing to allow musicians to take them on board. This has led to intense lobbying by the Musicians’ Union (MU) and the International Federation of Musicians (FIM). More than 40k people signed a petition to persuade Europe to bring in legislation to clarify rules on the carrying of instruments, including the need to clearly indicate terms and conditions for the transport of larger instruments in the cargo hold. John Smith, MU General Secretary and FIM President, said: “I am delighted that the European Parliament has voted in favour of this proposal, which will make such a difference to working musicians. The MU has been lobbying on this issue for years and actually reached an agreement with the Department for Transport in 2006, but we have long been saying that it is only by working at a European and international level that we can successfully tackle this issue, as the problem is much broader than just UK airlines... I urge the European Council to follow the Parliament’s lead and endorse this regulation as soon as possible.”

Elizabeth Hunt