He said it was their “right” to have a safety briefing in the language of the country of destination and departure.
Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Lithuanian social democratic party, asked the European Parliament why inflight announcements are almost always carried out in English.
She said: “The Commission’s information about air passenger rights says nothing about the right to inflight safety announcements in the languages of the country of destination and the country of departure.
“People complain that announcements on board are, more often than not, all made in English.
“Passengers, however, do not all know or understand English, and those who do not are consequently not so well informed — or else are left completely in the dark — about inflight safety.
“Is there any legislation to regulate this matter? If not, will not the Commission start discussing the subject in the near future?”
But the EU Commission said it would not insist pre-flight safety announcement in languages other than English, saying it was up to flight operators to ensure all passengers passengers can understand the briefing.
Responding on behalf of the Commission, Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport, said flight operators are required to ensure passenger safety announcements are delivered in a form passengers can understand, and there are many ways to do this, including picture briefing cards and videos.
She added: “Even domestic flights may have passengers from different nationalities on board.”
National authorities are required to verify their operators’ safety announcements “will satisfy the requirement to give them ‘in a form that facilitates the application of the procedures applicable in the event of an emergency’.”
The European Aviation Safety Agency was established in 2002 to being safety levels of aircraft operating in the EU to have the same regulations and safety requirements.
This provides a uniform level of requirements for operators, manufacturers and aviation personnel, reducing the administrative burden and workload for the national authorities and the industry, and facilitating the flow of products and people within the internal market.
Last year EC President Jean Claude-Juncker angered many after he ‘joked’ the English language was on its way out after Brexit.
Juncker told a conference in Florence last May: “Slowly but surely English is losing importance in Europe.”
Brexit has raised some questions about the future status of English within the bloc, since once Britain leaves it will not be the official language of any member state for EU purposes.
It is a native language in Ireland and Malta but countries can only nominate one for EU use and they chose Gaelic and Maltese respectively.
The EU recognises 24 official languages and three — English, French and German — as working languages.