The European Parliament has proposed strict new rules on the use of armed security personnel on board aircraft.

According to the parliamentary draft - heavily amended following original proposals by the European Commission  covering common rules for airport and aircraft security - “sky marshals”, as they are commonly known, would be required to undergo strict approved training.

Weapons will not be permitted on an aircraft unless all necessary security conditions have been fulfilled and authorisation granted by the member state responsible for granting the operating licence to the airline concerned.

Consent must also be granted by the state of departure, by the state of arrival and where applicable by any state which is over flown or where immediate stops are made.

“Whether sky marshals are used should be left to member states to decide. For most people, visions of a midair gun battle fill them with horror,” said Liz Lynne, a Liberal Democrat MEP from the UK .

The Parliament's version now must be reconciled with a draft proposed by the EU’s 27 governments and will therefore likely be subject to conciliation procedures.

Major differences over funding remain, with Parliament insisting that the cost of additional stringent security measures should be borne by member states if they exceed those which would normally be partly covered by airlines.

MEPS also voted to amend security proposals so that heightened measures in the event of a fresh security alert, such as those governing carriage of liquids, would normally expire after six months and only be renewed after a thorough re-evaluation of security risks, costs and effect on operations.

It will be put to a full Parliamentary vote on 10 May