Air transport fair competition law signed off by Council


In a context of increasing global competition, the EU now has an effective tool to address unfair commercial practices that may emerge in the air transport sector from companies located in non-EU countries. The regulation adopted by the Council today aims to ensure healthy competition and help to maintain high connectivity throughout the EU. A provisional agreement was reached between the Council presidency and the European Parliament on 20 November 2018.

Fair competition between air carriers contributes to a wider choice of flights and more affordable prices for customers.

The regulation gives the Commission powers to carry out an investigation and take financial or operational redressive measures if a non-EU airline uses a market-distorting practice that has caused or clearly threatens to cause injury to an EU air carrier.

Both financial and operational measures will be adopted by means of a Commission implementing act. However, operational measures will be subject to a more stringent procedure.

The new rules replace existing regulation 868/2004, which has proved ineffective and has never been used in practice. At international level, neither the World Trade Organisation (WTO) nor the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has a framework to regulate competition among air carriers.

Today’s Council vote concludes the legislative procedure. The European Parliament voted on 14 March 2019. The regulation will be signed by both institutions and published in the EU Official Journal. It will enter into force 20 days after publication.

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