updated 1/15/2008 3:02:52 PM ET 2008-01-15T20:02:52

The European Parliament on Tuesday voted to set clearer rules for calculating airport taxes paid by passengers to try and prevent airports increasing the charges at will.

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Airports charge airlines for using their facilities, and the cost is transferred to passengers, sometimes making up a substantial part of the ticket price.

Under the new rules, which affect Europe's 67 biggest airports and still need approval from the EU's 27 nations, airports will now have to consult airlines on the way charges are structured. If airlines deem the taxes excessive, they will be able to appeal to a national regulatory body, which will help solve disagreements.

The new guidelines set the level of service quality to be provided by an airport's managing body in return for the charges. The rules allow airports to pay for upgrades by increasing charges before they carry out any work, but only if passengers are informed of what they are paying for and of the duration of the tax increase.

Europe's largest budget carrier, Ryanair Holdings PLC, has been in a disagreement with London's Stansted and Dublin airports over increased charges to pay for new terminals. Stansted doubled charges in April and will increase fees again this year as it builds a $7.9 billion second terminal.

The parliament wants to rules to apply to all EU airports handling more than 5 million passengers a year.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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