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EU Commission to initiate aviation negotiations with ASEAN, Turkey, UAE & Qatar

8 June 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, International Airport Review

Following a meeting of the EU Transport Council on 07 June, the European Commission will now initiate aviation negotiations with ASEAN, Turkey, the UAE and Qatar.

EU Transport Council has adopted mandates that allow the Commission to start negotiations on comprehensive EU-level air transport agreements with four key partners: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

The first EU bloc-to-bloc aviation agreement

The agreement with ASEAN is set to become the first EU bloc-to-bloc aviation agreement. In addition, the UAE, Qatar and Turkey are among the most dynamic and fastest growing aviation markets. According to the Council, all agreements are directed at allowing market development and growth based on common rules and transparency.

Improving international connectivity

The goal of comprehensive EU-level aviation agreements is to create new business opportunities, improve market access and ensure fair competition under transparent market conditions. They also aim to increase Europe’s international connectivity and ensure a high quality of service for passengers.

EU Commission to initiate aviation negotiations with ASEAN, Turkey, UAE & Qatar

From left to right: Ms Violeta Bulc, Member of the European Commission; Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Dutch Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment.

Commenting on the agreement, Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the Netherlands Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment and chair of the Council meeting, said: “Europe is showing leadership in its external aviation policy with a balanced approach consisting of market opening based on fair and transparent market conditions.”

Reacting to the announcement, ACI Europe believes ‘negotiations should allow for the replacement of often-restrictive bilateral aviation agreements between individual EU States and ASEAN countries, Turkey, UAE & Qatar with liberal EU-level agreements, thereby opening up market access on a reciprocal basis and under common rules.’

“Restricting market access should no longer be allowed to constrain connectivity”

Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI Europe commented: “Airports have become network developers and they need full freedom to attract airlines to serve their destination. Restricting market access should no longer be allowed to constrain connectivity – and the benefits of recent aviation liberalisation at EU level with the US, Canada or other countries like Morocco are plain for all to see.”  

He added “ACI Europe will be at the table of these new negotiations to represent the airport industry as in the past. We look forward to swift and effective negotiations so as to allow further growth in air traffic and in connectivity. We also urge the Council of EU Transport Ministers to consider granting additional negotiating mandates as per the Commission’s Aviation Strategy – including with Mexico, the other Gulf countries and Armenia.”   

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