The new Regulation on air transport, the so-called “third package”, reached the final stage of its long revision process when it entered into force on 1 November. The new Regulation replaces the original set of rules that liberalised air transport in the European Union in 1997. Among other things, the new Regulation (No 1008/08 of 24 September 2008; OJ L 239 of 31 October 2008), harmonises the rules in the different EU Member States regarding operating licences and eliminates any remaining intra-EU restrictions concerning the control of airlines and market access, thereby finalising liberalisation within the Single Market. In addition, the new legislation requires that airlines include all taxes and charges in their published ticket prices and prohibits discrimination based on where in the European Union a ticket is purchased.

New rules had become necessary as a result of the dramatic developments that the industry experienced in the last decade: new airlines bringing more competition to the market; the emergence of new business models, e.g., the low-cost airlines; and the substantial increase in the number of routes.