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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.


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.


Following the consultation, the EC published the "Aviation Strategy for Europe" on 7 December 2015. 


In December 2015, AACO 48th AGM also adopted a resolution on the Relations with the European Union following the publication of the EU Aviation Package of 2015. To view the full text of the resolution, please click here.


AACO 50th AGM Resolution on Competition Issues in the Relations with the European Union

AACO 50th AGM , held in November 2017, adopted a resolution that highlighted the benefits of removing restrictions on air transport and principles that need to be followed in any unilateral regulation related to air transport calling on the EU institutions to take these principles into consideration in their approach towards the revision of regulation 868/2004. The AGM also reasserted that dialogue, consultations, and negotiations are the proper path for relations in air transport., and mandated AACO to continue its advocacy with the EU institutions with regards to the EC proposal for revising regulation 868/2004.


The full text of the 50th AGM resolution can be viewed here


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).


This was followed by a similar mandate, obtained in October 2018, to negotiate EU-level aviation agreement with the Sultanate of Oman .



Last updated on 20 October 2018

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