In 1944, with the entering into force of the Chicago Convention, the international community set the basic rules and legal framework on air services navigation at a global level. The Convention stated that air carriers could provide air services to another State’s territory only after obtaining a specific authorisation to do so by that State. The authorisations, also called “traffic rights”, were granted in international agreements between States (Air Services Agreements, ASAs).

In 1992 the European Union has adopted three regulations, the so-called “Third package”, that, in contrast with the legal framework provided for by the Chicago Convention, established an internal EU aviation market. The internal market for aviation grants EU air carrier the right to fly from any Member State to any other Member State of the EU or the European Economic Area.

The Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community (OJEU L 293 of 31.10.2008) has consolidated into one single act the three pre-existing regulation, so that all EU air carriers holding a valid air operator certificate (AOC) are entitled to operate air services on any route within the EU without further authorisation.

After having collected preliminary information on the application of the Regulation, the Commission has identified possible areas of concern that could be better addressed, including:

  • factors that continue to undermine competition between EU carriers, and inadequate consumer protection;
  • risk of hampering innovation in the EU air carrier business models and of jeopardising quality jobs;
  • risks affecting EU carrier’s ability to maintain and develop their business in an increasingly global environment;
  • risks for EU consumers’ ability to benefit from truly global air carrier business and stronger competition in the EU internal aviation market.

In light of the above, the Commission has decided to open a public consultation, in line with the Better Regulation Guidelines, to receive feedback from organisations and individuals on this topic so to identify problems, objectives and possible options for the future. All interested parties can participate to the public consultation by filling out the online questionnaire available at the following LINK. The consultation will close on 7 June 2018.