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Recent developments and trends
Are there any notable recent developments or trends in the aviation sector in your jurisdiction?
The aviation sector is functioning well, both from an operative and a legislative perspective. The most notable development is the ratification of the Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol, which became effective in Sweden as of April 1 2016.
What is the primary domestic legislation governing the aviation industry in your jurisdiction?
The Aviation Act (2010:500) and the Aviation Ordinance (2010:770) are the primary domestic regulations in Sweden. The Swedish Transport Agency also issues regulations.
As Sweden is a member of the European Union, EU regulations are included among the primary legislation governing the aviation industry. For example, EU Regulation 1008/2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the European Union applies to all EU member states, as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. International law
What international aviation agreements has your jurisdiction concluded?
The European Union has agreements with Canada, Morocco, the United States and the European Common Aviation Area. Sweden also has bilateral air services agreements with several countries outside the European Union.
Sweden is a party to the following international conventions:
- the International Conventions of Montreal (1999), ratified April 29 2004;
- the Warsaw Convention (1929), ratified July 3 1937;
- the Hague Protocol to Amend the Warsaw Convention (1955), ratified May 3 1963;
- the Chicago Convention (1944), ratified November 7 1946;
- the Geneva Convention on the International Recognition of Rights in Aircraft (1948), ratified November 16 1955; and
- the Cape Town Convention (2001), ratified December 30 2015, together with the Aircraft Protocol.
Which government bodies regulate the aviation industry and what is the extent of their powers?
In Sweden, legislative power is vested in Parliament and the government can issue ordinances. The government authority responsible for the aviation industry is the Swedish Transport Agency, which formulates regulations, examines and grants permits and assesses civil aviation with particular regard to safety and security. The agency also monitors developments in the aviation market.
The extent of the Swedish Transport Agency’s power depends on the European Union due to the fact that Sweden is an EU member state. The agency can certify only aircraft and materials in accordance with EU Regulation 216/2008.
Within the European Union, the European Aviation Safety Agency has regulatory and executive tasks in the field of civilian aviation.
Air carrier operations
What procedural and documentary requirements must air carriers meet in order to operate in your jurisdiction?
Whether an air carrier transports passengers or goods, it will need an air operation certificate (commonly known as a European Aviation Safety Agency Air Operations (EASA-OPS) certificate) in accordance with EU Regulation 965/2012 on air operations.
The air carrier must have a continuing airworthiness management organisation (CAMO) in accordance with EU Regulation 1321/2014.
The air carrier must apply for an operating licence in accordance with EU Regulation 1008/2008.
All aircraft used by the air carrier must be approved by the EASA.
Flight crew licensing and initial safety training and issuance of cabin crew attestations are regulated by the EU Air Crew Regulation (1178/2011).
An air carrier must also have a traffic licence.
EU air carriers can operate within the European Union without permission from the Swedish Transport Agency, in accordance with EU Regulation 1008/2008.
EU air carriers operating outside the European Union and non-EU air carriers must submit an application to the Swedish Transport Agency that includes:
- the operator name, address, phone number and email address;
- the number of weekly frequencies;
- the destinations to be flown with indication of dates and times;
- the aircraft type, registration numbers and capacity; and
- the flight number, insurance, wet lease and code share information.
Ownership and control
Do any nationality or other requirements or restrictions apply to ownership or control of air carriers operating in your jurisdiction?
In accordance with the Aviation Act, an operating licence may be issued to only limited companies, provided that a majority of the capital value and share value is owned by citizens of EU countries.
What financial thresholds must air carriers meet to obtain operating authorisation?
To obtain an operation licence, an air carrier must meet the financial conditions in accordance with EU Regulation 1008/2008. For granting an operating licence for the first time, an air carrier must be able to demonstrate that it can meet at any time:
- its actual and potential obligations established under realistic assumptions, for a period of 24 months from the start of operations; and
- its fixed and operational costs incurred by operations according to its business plan and established under realistic assumptions, for a period of three months from the start of operations, without taking into account any income from its operations.
For the purposes of the assessment, the air carrier must submit a business plan for at least the first three years of operation. The business plan must also detail the air carrier’s financial links with any other commercial activities in which it is engaged either directly or through related undertakings. The air carrier must also provide all relevant information.
These do not apply to an air carrier applying for an operating licence intended to cover operations with aircraft with a maximum take-off mass (MTOM) of less than 10 tonnes or less than 20 seats. Such undertakings must demonstrate that their net capital is at least €100,000 or provide all relevant information for the purposes of the assessment described above when required by the Swedish Transport Authority. The Swedish Transport Authority may nevertheless decide that an air carrier applying for an operating licence that intends to operate scheduled air services or whose turnover exceeds €3 million a year, must be able to demonstrate the financial conditions in accordance with EU Regulation 1008/2008.
What is the required level of insurance coverage for air carrier operations?
EU Regulation 785/2004 sets out the insurance requirements for air carriers and aircraft operators (as amended).
The required levels of insurance in respect of liability for passengers, baggage and cargo are as follows:
- For liability in respect of passengers, the minimum insurance cover is 250,000 special drawing rights (SDR) per passenger.
- For liability in respect of baggage, the minimum insurance cover is SDR 1,131 per passenger in commercial operations.
- For liability in respect of cargo, the minimum insurance cover is SDR 19 per kilogram in commercial operations.
This does not apply to flights over the territories of EU member states carried out by non-EU air carriers and by aircraft operators using aircraft registered outside the European Union which do not involve a landing on, or take-off from, such territory.
The air carrier must maintain insurance in respect of liability for third parties in accordance with EU Regulation 785/2004. The minimum insurance cover per accident and per aircraft depends on the MTOM of the aircraft.
What safety requirements apply to air carrier operations, including with regard to professional and technical certifications?
Within the European Union, EU Regulation 216/2008 (including amendments) applies. The regulation is designed in accordance with the obligations under the Chicago Convention.
EU Regulation 965/2012 sets out the technical requirements and administrative procedures relating to air operations pursuant to EU Regulation 216/2008.
The EASA issues (among other things) certification specifications.
At the domestic level, the Aviation Act and the Aviation Ordinance are the main regulations.
What environmental obligations apply to air carrier operations?
The general regulations in the Environmental Code apply. The code incorporates EU directives.
Within the European Union, there is a system with allowances for aviation.
The aircraft requires a noise certificate issued by the Swedish Transport Agency in accordance with EU Regulation 1592/2002. To receive a noise certificate, products, parts and appliances must comply with the environmental protection requirements contained in Annex 16 to the Chicago Convention, excluding its appendices.
Air traffic control
How are air traffic control services regulated in your jurisdiction?
EU Framework Regulation 549/2004 as amended by EU Regulation 1070/2009 sets out the regulation requirements for air traffic control services in the European Union.
The Aviation Act and the Aviation Ordinance are the primary domestic regulations for air traffic control services. Regulations are also issued by the Swedish Transport Agency, such as TSFS 2016:34, TSFS 2016:117, LFS 2007:9 and TSFS 2012:7.
The Swedish Transportation Agency is responsible for licensing and supervising both public and private operators. Each operator is appointed a specific airspace responsibility.
Do any licensing requirements apply to specific routes?
EU Regulation 1008/2008 stipulates that EU air carriers are entitled to operate intra-EU air services. EU member states are not allowed to subject EU air carriers to permits for specific routes.
Are any public service obligations in place with respect to remote destinations?
In accordance with EU Regulation 1008/2008, the government may impose a public service obligation in respect of scheduled air services if it is considered vital for the economic and social development of the region which the airport serves.
Do any special provisions apply to charter services?
EU air carriers can operate within the European Union without permission from the Swedish Transport Agency (see EU Regulation 1008/2008.
According to the Swedish Transport Agency regulation on traffic permits and the exercise of traffic rights (TSFS 2017:70), EU air carriers operating outside the European Union and non-EU air carriers must submit an email application to the Swedish Transport Agency no later than 48 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Swedish holidays) in advance of the intended landing, if the air carrier intends to carry out up to a maximum of four charter flights to Sweden within two months.
For air carriers intending to operate more than four charter flights to Sweden within two months (eg, traffic programmes), the timeframe is 14 days in advance of the intended landing (ie, the effective date of the traffic programme).
What taxes apply to the provision of air carrier services?
The tax rate on the provision of air carrier services is 6%.
The government has presented a proposal for a new aviation tax on all departures from Swedish airports. The size of the tax depends on the length of the flight. The law is proposed to enter into force on April 1 2018, but has not yet been approved by Parliament.
Consumer protection and liability
Are airfares regulated in your jurisdiction?
In accordance with EU Regulation 1008/2008, an air carrier is free to set airfares.
What rules and liabilities are air carriers subject to in respect of:
(a) Flight delays and cancellations?
EU Regulation 261/2004 sets out the liability requirements for air carriers in the European Union.
In case of flight cancellation, the affected passengers are offered assistance by the operating air carrier and have the right to choose between reimbursement and a return flight to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity or re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity or at a later date at the passenger's convenience. Passengers are offered free meals and refreshments proportionate to the waiting time and two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages or emails.
In the event of a re-routing, when the expected time of departure of the new flight is at least the day after the planned departure for the cancelled flight, the operating air carrier must offer free hotel accommodation in cases where a stay of one or more nights is necessary or where a stay additional to that intended by the passenger is necessary, and free transport between the airport and the accommodation.
Passengers are entitled to the following compensation:
- €250 for all flights of 1,500 kilometres (km) or less;
- €400 for all intra-EU flights of more than 1,500km and other flights between 1,500km and 3,500km; and
- €600 for all other flights.
This applies unless the passengers are informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure or they are informed of the cancellation less than seven days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than one hour before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than two hours after the scheduled time of arrival.
An operating air carrier is not obliged to pay compensation if it can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances which were unavoidable even if all reasonable measures had been taken.
Passengers are offered free meals and refreshments proportionate to the waiting time and two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages or emails when an operating air carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed beyond its scheduled time of departure for:
- two hours or more in the case of flights of 1,500km or less;
- three hours or more in the case of all intra-EU flights of more than 1,500km and of all other flights between 1,500km and 3,500km; or
- four hours or more in the case of all other flights.
When the delay is at least five hours, the operation air carrier must offer free hotel accommodation in cases where a stay of one or more nights is necessary or where a stay additional to that intended by the passenger is necessary and free transport between the airport and the accommodation.
(b) Oversold flights?
See section below.
(c) Denied boarding?
EU Regulation 261/2004 sets out the boarding requirements for air carriers in the European Union.
When an operating air carrier reasonably expects to deny boarding on a flight, it will first call for volunteers to surrender their reservations in exchange for benefits under conditions to be agreed between the passenger concerned and the operating air carrier. Volunteers will be assisted and have the right to choose between reimbursement and a return flight to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity or re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity or at a later date at the passenger's convenience.
If an insufficient number of volunteers come forward to allow the remaining passengers with reservations to board the flight, the operating air carrier may then deny boarding to passengers against their will.
If boarding is denied to passengers against their will, the operating air carrier must immediately compensate them as follows:
- €250 for all flights of 1,500km or less;
- €400 for all intra-EU flights of more than 1,500km and other flights between 1,500 and 3,500km; and
- €600 for all other flights.
An operating air carrier is not obliged to pay compensation if it can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.
The operating air carrier must immediately assist passengers with choosing between reimbursement and a return flight to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity or re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity or at a later date at the passenger's convenience.
Passengers are offered free meals and refreshments proportionate to the waiting time, free hotel accommodation in cases where a stay of one or more nights is necessary or where additional stay to that intended by the passenger is necessary, and free transport between the airport and the accommodation. Further, passengers will be offered two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages or e-mails.
(d) Access for disabled passengers?
EU Regulation 1107/2006 establishes rules for the protection of and provision of assistance to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility travelling by air, both to protect them against discrimination and to ensure that they receive assistance.
EU Regulation 261/2004 states that operating air carriers must give priority to carrying persons with reduced mobility and any persons or certified service dogs accompanying them.
(e) Lost, damaged or destroyed luggage?
EU Regulation 889/2002, which amends EU Regulation 2027/97, sets out the rules regarding air carrier luggage:
- Baggage delays ‒ in case of baggage delay, the air carrier is liable for damage unless it took all reasonable measures to avoid the damage or it was impossible to take such measures. The liability for baggage delay is limited to 1,000 special drawing rights (SDR) (approximate amount in local currency).
- Destruction, loss or damage to baggage ‒ the air carrier is liable for destruction, loss or damage to baggage up to SDR 1,000 (approximate amount in local currency). In the case of checked baggage, it is liable even if not at fault, unless the baggage was defective. In the case of unchecked baggage, the carrier is liable only if at fault.
- Higher limits for baggage ‒ a passenger can benefit from a higher liability limit by making a special declaration at the latest at check-in and by paying a supplementary fee.
The Air Transport Act implementing the rules of the Montreal Convention applies in cases when EU regulation is not applicable.
(f) Retention and protection of passenger data?
In Sweden, the Personal Data Act (1998:204) implements EU Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of personal data.
From May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation will be the regulation for all EU member states.
What rules and liabilities apply to the air carriage of cargo?
Air operator’s certificates, in accordance with EU Regulation 965/2012 and operation licences, in accordance with EU Regulation 1008/2008, set out the rules and liabilities applying to the air carriage of cargo.
For insurance, please see “Air carrier operations”.
Marketing and advertising
Do any special rules apply to the marketing and advertising of aviation services?
No. The Marketing Act (2008:486) is applicable.
Do any special rules apply to consumer complaints handling in the aviation industry?
EU Regulation 261/2004 establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long flight delays.
EU Regulation 2027/97 establishes common rules on air carrier liability in the event of accidents.
What are the requirements for entry in the domestic aircraft register?
The domestic aircraft register is administered by the Swedish Transport Agency. An aircraft can be registered if the owner is a Swedish citizen or a citizen within the European Economic Area. If the aircraft is used within Sweden or with Sweden as a base, the Swedish Transport Agency can approve registration even if the owner is a citizen somewhere else.
Ownership of an aircraft can also be registered in the register of rights, which is a prerequisite for registering a mortgage. In the register of rights, a lessee’s rights under a lease agreement and a seller’s right to retention of title under a conditional sale agreement might be registered.
Mortgages and encumbrances
Is there a domestic register for aircraft mortgages, encumbrances and other interests? If so, what are the requirements and legal effects of registration?
Yes. A register is administered by the Swedish Transport Agency where an owner can voluntarily register rights and other interests such as mortgages and encumbrances.
The aircraft must be registered in the domestic register to be registerable in the register of rights and other interests. If the right is recorded in the register it will be considered to be a right in rem.
What rules and procedures govern the detention of aircraft?
If the charges for an aircraft’s most recent landing are unpaid, the airport operation has the right to prevent take-off. This is the right of detention of aircraft.
If the aircraft is located in Sweden and an applicant has a court order, the aircraft can be detained for any unpaid dept. The applicant must provide security.
In accordance with Swedish civil law, under specific circumstances, detention is allowed for unpaid maintenance.
Safety and maintenance
What rules and procedures govern aircraft safety and maintenance?
The framework regulation is EU Regulation 216/2008.
EU Regulation 1321/2014 on the continuing airworthiness of aircraft and aeronautical products, parts and appliances and on the approval of organisations and personnel involved in these tasks also applies.
What is the state of regulation on unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) in your jurisdiction?
A new regulation on unmanned aerial vehicles in Sweden will be introduced in late 2017 or early 2018.
At present, a permit is not necessary when flying a drone within line of sight and for private use only.
For all other drone-related activities, a permit from the Swedish Transport Agency is required.
Permits from air traffic control are required when flying inside an airport control zone.
Permits are also required when flying drones within a restriction zone.
How are air accidents investigated in your jurisdiction?
The Swedish Accident Investigation Authority is responsible for investigating air accidents.
Investigations are intended to clarify, as far as possible, the sequence of events and their causes, as well as damages and other consequences. The results of an investigation should prevent a similar event from occurring in the future. The objective of the investigations is safety, not apportioning guilt, blame or liability for damages.
What liability regime governs death, injury and loss arising from air accidents?
The liability regime governing death, injury and loss arising from air accidents is established by EU Regulation 2027/97 on air carrier liability in the event of accidents, as amended by EU Regulation 889/2002, which implements the Montreal Convention.
The Air Transport Act (2010:510) is the chief domestic regulation.
Further, under Swedish law, an owner of a Swedish registered aircraft has a strict liability in relation to third parties, caused by the operation of the aircraft. However, such liability can be assumed by the operator of the aircraft who has a right of use (or lease) of the aircraft for a period of not less than six months and has the right to appoint captain of the aircraft and to operate the same.
What are the reporting requirements for air accidents?
In the European Union, EU Regulation 996/2010 states that any person involved who has knowledge of the occurrence of an accident or serious incident must immediately notify the competent safety investigation authority of the state where the accident occurred. The responsible authority in Sweden is the Swedish Transport Agency.
In case of an air accident or a serious incident, the Aviation Act stipulates that the pilot in command of the aircraft is responsible of reporting to the Swedish Transport Authority. The owner of the aircraft or one of its users is responsible for reporting if the pilot cannot fulfill this responsibility or if the aircraft is missing.
An incident must be reported even if it did not pose any immediate threat to aviation safety.
What rules govern the ownership of airports (both public and private)?
There are both public and private airports in Sweden. The majority of airports are public and managed by Swedavia AB.
All airports must meet the requirements set out in EU Regulation 216/2008 as amended by EU Regulation 1108/2009 and EU Regulation 139/2014.
The European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) has released acceptable means of compliance and guidance materials to help airport operators meet the requirements.
What is the authorisation procedure for the operation of airports?
The Aviation Act stipulates that an airport must receive flight safety approval and have an operating licence granted by the Swedish Transport Authority.
What ongoing operating requirements apply (including obligations relating to safety, security and facilities maintenance)?
All airports must meet the requirements set out in EU Regulation 216/2008 as amended by EU Regulation 1108/2009 and EU Regulation 139/2014.
The EASA has released acceptable means of compliance and guidance materials.
The Swedish Transport Agency has also issued several regulations.
Regarding civil aviation security, EU Regulation 300/2008 and EU Regulation 2015/1998 apply.
What airport charges apply and how are they regulated?
Domestic regulations include:
- the Aviation Act (2010:500);
- the Airport Charges Act (2011:866);
- the Airport Charges Ordinance (2011:867);
- the Ground Handling Services Act (2000:150);
- the Ground Handling Services Ordinance (2000:151);
- the Aviation Security Act (2004:1100); and
- the Aviation Security Ordinance (2004:1101).
The Swedish Transport Agency regulations include:
- Regulation on Charges for Air Navigation Services (TFSF 2010:153); and
- Regulation on a Common Charging System on Security Controls of Passengers and Luggage (TSFS 2012:113).
EU regulations include:
- EU Regulation 1794/2006 as amended by EU Regulation 1191/2010; and
- EU Regulation 300/2008.
What regulations govern access to airports?
EU Regulation 1008/2008 stipulates that EU air carriers are entitled to operate intra-EU air services. Member states are not allowed to subject EU air carriers to permits for specific routes.
The licence for the specific airport issued by the Swedish Transport Agency may contain limitations.
What regime governs the allocation of airport slots (including slot transfer, revocation and disputes)?
EU Regulation 95/93 on common rules for the allocation of slots at EU airports.
How are ground handling services regulated?
The Act on Ground Handling Services (2000:150) is an implementation of the EU Directive 96/97/EC and contains rules on ground handling services. Its aim is to discontinue restrictions on the freedom to provide ground services within the EU single market.
Do any sector-specific competition regulatory/legal provisions apply to the aviation industry in your jurisdiction?
No. The general competition regulations apply.
If the competition is in Sweden but within the EU single market, the following regulations apply:
- Articles 101 to 105 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;
- EU Regulation 1/2003 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 (new Articles 101 and 102) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; and
- EU Regulation 487/2009 on the application of Article 81(3) (new Article 101(3)) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to certain categories of agreements and concerted practices in the air transport sector.
If the competition is only in Sweden, the Swedish Competition Act (2008:579) applies.
Code sharing and joint ventures
What (if any) competition concerns arise in relation to code sharing and air carrier joint ventures?
Please see above.
What rules govern state aid in the aviation industry? Do any exemptions apply?
Articles 107 to 109 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
On May 17 2017 the European Commission approved new state aid rules that exempt certain public support measures for ports, airports, culture and the outermost regions from prior EU scrutiny. As regards airports, EU member states can now make public investments in regional airports handling up to 3 million passengers a year with full legal certainty and without prior control by the European Commission. The rules can be found in EU Regulation 651/2014 with amendments.
Have there been any notable recent cases or rulings involving competition in the aviation industry?
What aviation-related disputes typically arise in your jurisdiction and how are they usually resolved?