European Union signs aviation agreement with the Republic of Korea

Today, the European Union and the Republic of Korea have signed a Horizontal Aviation Agreement. This Agreement allows any EU airline to fly to the Republic of Korea from each EU Member State, which has a bilateral air services agreement with the Republic of Korea. Twenty-two Member States have such bilateral air services agreements with the Republic of Korea. Traditionally, in these bilateral air services agreements, only airlines owned and controlled by a given Member State or its nationals may fly between that Member State and a third country. The conclusion of the Horizontal Agreement offers important opportunities to other EU airlines, and is therefore beneficial to airlines on both sides.

Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said: “At a time when international air transport – severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis – is slowly picking up, the signature of such a Horizontal Agreement provides hope for the future with more opportunities to develop long-haul services towards the Korean market. It further shows that international cooperation is an essential driver to the recovery of the aviation market.”

Importantly, the signature takes place just a few days before the video-conference between the leaders of the EU and the Republic of Korea on 30 June, which provides an excellent occasion to recognise the importance of this agreement at the highest level. The leaders are also expected to reiterate their joint commitment to working towards establishing a High-Level Transport Dialogue between the EU and the Republic of Korea across all modes of transport.


The horizontal agreement between the EU and the Republic of Korea marks another key deliverable under the Commission’s Aviation Strategy for Europe – designed to generate growth for European businesses, foster innovation and let passengers profit from safer, cleaner and more affordable flights.

Next steps

Both the European Union and the Republic of Korea will now proceed with their respective internal procedures to put the conclusion of the agreement in place.