EU external aviation policy

04-10-2019

The 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation ('Chicago Convention') is the chief regulatory framework for international civil aviation, but also the most important primary source of public international aviation law and the umbrella under which bilateral air service agreements have been developed. While early bilateral air service agreements between states were quite restrictive, to protect their respective flag carriers, the United States proposed a more flexible model of bilateral air services agreements in the early 1990s, the 'Open Skies' agreements. Challenges to these agreements on the grounds that some of their provisions did not conform to Community law, led to the 2002 European Court of Justice 'Open Skies' judgments. These judgments triggered the development of an EU external aviation policy, leading to the conclusion of horizontal agreements and the negotiation and conclusion of comprehensive EU agreements with some neighbouring countries and key trading partners. To tackle the challenges currently facing international air transport and, in particular, increased competition from third countries, in December 2015, the Commission adopted a new aviation strategy for Europe that places great emphasis on the EU's external dimension, which the EU has started delivering, for instance with the adoption of a new EU tool to ensure fair competition between Union and third-country air carriers and the ongoing negotiations for new air transport agreements. This is an updated edition of a Briefing published in November 2016: PE 582.021.

The 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation ('Chicago Convention') is the chief regulatory framework for international civil aviation, but also the most important primary source of public international aviation law and the umbrella under which bilateral air service agreements have been developed. While early bilateral air service agreements between states were quite restrictive, to protect their respective flag carriers, the United States proposed a more flexible model of bilateral air services agreements in the early 1990s, the 'Open Skies' agreements. Challenges to these agreements on the grounds that some of their provisions did not conform to Community law, led to the 2002 European Court of Justice 'Open Skies' judgments. These judgments triggered the development of an EU external aviation policy, leading to the conclusion of horizontal agreements and the negotiation and conclusion of comprehensive EU agreements with some neighbouring countries and key trading partners. To tackle the challenges currently facing international air transport and, in particular, increased competition from third countries, in December 2015, the Commission adopted a new aviation strategy for Europe that places great emphasis on the EU's external dimension, which the EU has started delivering, for instance with the adoption of a new EU tool to ensure fair competition between Union and third-country air carriers and the ongoing negotiations for new air transport agreements. This is an updated edition of a Briefing published in November 2016: PE 582.021.