• Policy

EU External Aviation Policy

Tailored Approach towards Third Countries
The EC external aviation policy is based on the following three pillars:

  1. Horizontal agreements with third countries to bring existing bilateral agreements between European and non-European countries in line with Community law, by removing nationality restrictions in these bilateral agreements.
  2. Common Aviation Area with neighboring countries including Mediterranean countries. These agreements open the skies between the two parties in addition to a gradual regulatory convergence in areas like safety, air navigation, environment, competition laws and passenger rights.
  3. Comprehensive agreements with selected countries around the world to set up open aviation areas with global partners. 


Communication on the EU's External Aviation Policy - Addressing Future Challenges (2012)
The EC published a Communication on 27 September 2012 on the EU External Aviation Policy.

The EU Council adopted on 20 December the proposed EU external aviation policy. The decision of the Council is considered guidance to a potential EU law on the External Aviation Policy to be proposed by the EC. The Council has concluded the following in particular:

  • Encouraged the Commission to reach comprehensive EU-level agreements with all neighboring countries by 2015;
  • Acknowledged the Commission's intention to engage in a dialogue with Gulf countries with a view to enhancing transparency and fair competition;
  • Supported the Commission's intention to present a proposal for a revision or replacement of Regulation 868/2004 concerning protection against “subsidization” and “unfair practices”;
  • Welcomed the Commission's intention to develop a template for a "fair competition clause" for inclusion in air services agreements with partner countries;

AACO, under the umbrella of AACO Aeropolitical Watch Group, formulated a position with regards to the EC Communication which was communicated with the EC. To view the position, please click here.


AACO 48 AGM Resolution on EU External Aviation Policy
AACO 48th AGM that was held in Jeddah on 29 November – 2 December 2015 agreed unanimously on its Resolution on EU External Aviation Policy which called upon the European Union to place the highest possible priority to the development of infrastructure in Europe and the unification of the European aerospace. The AGM also highlighted that the EU aviation package should support global efforts under ICAO umbrella in areas such as consumer protection, dealing with aviation emissions, and security and safety standards.
In addition, the AGM called upon the European Union to recognize in the aviation package the added value that competition brings to the market place and called upon the Arab Civil Aviation Commission (ACAC) and the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) to engage with the European Commission in order to highlight the principles that have been stipulated above.


EU Aviation Package 2015
On 19 March 2015, the European Commission published a consultation that will feed into the “Aviation Package 2015” that the EC is working on. AACO responded to this consultation basically bringing focus to two major issues that need the attention of regulators in the EU, one is aviation infrastructure (congestion at airports and air traffic management), and the second is the relatively high tax environment imposed on the aviation sector. 

To view AACO’s full response to the consultation, please click here.


On 7 December 2015, the European Commission published an aviation strategy for Europe. In addition to areas related to all aviation activities like safety, security, ATM, climate change and others, below are some highlights on th external dimension:

1.The Commission recommended to the Council the issuance of authorizations to negotiate comprehensive EU-level air transport agreements with the following countries and regions: China, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE (United Arab Emirates), Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Mexico and Armenia; 
2.The Commission will negotiate effective fair competition provisions in the context of the negotiation of EU comprehensive air transport agreements and consider measures to address unfair practices from third countries and third country operators;
3.The Commission proposed to publish interpretative guidelines on the application of Regulation 1008/2008 with respect to the provisions on the ownership and control of EU airlines to bring more legal certainty for investors and airlines alike. 
4.The Commission proposed to launch new aviation dialogues with important aviation partners such as India; 

Other Relevant Issues:
Regarding the revisions of the Passenger Rights regulation and Slots regulation, the EC asked the EU institutions to expedite the adoption of the EC proposals put forward years back. 


European Commission gets mandate to negotiate new EU-level agreements with ASEAN, Turkey, Qatar and the UAE

On 7 June 2016, the 28 EU Transport Ministers authorized the European Commission to start negotiations for EU-level aviation agreements with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


Last updated on 20 April 2017

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