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EC publishes open and connected aviation package

On 8 June, the EC released a package of four documents in support of its EU Aviation Strategy initiative of 2015 collectively called an open and connected aviation package. The initiative includes a set of measures to ensure the EU’s aviation sector competes effectively on a global level.

The EC’s open and connected package includes four documents:

  1. A legislative proposal for a Regulation on safeguarding competition in air transport (https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/com20170289-proposal-regulation-safeguarding-competition-air-transport.pdf)
  2. Interpretative guidelines on ownership and control of EU airlines (https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/c20173711-guidelines-ownership-control-carriers.pdf)
  3. Interpretative guidelines on public services obligations (https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/c20173712-guidelines-pso.pdf)
  4. Practices facilitating continuity of air traffic management (https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/swd20170207-practices-favouring-air-traffic-management-service-continuity.pdf)

These documents are available via the above links and the EC’s press release launching the package can be found here: (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-1552_en.htm)

Of particular interest for ERA members are Public Service Obligation and Ownership and Control interpretive guidelines on the application of EU Regulation 1008/2008.

Interpretative guidelines on Public Service Obligations (PSOs)

As a solution to address connectivity gaps, the PSO guidelines outline the mechanism followed by the EC when assessing a PSO and are designed to assist member states in effectively adhering to and effectively implement PSO rules. Clarity and effectiveness will be reviewed in a next step to ensure these rules are fit for purpose. ERA had been calling for the more widespread use of PSOs as well as consistent application across member states so these guidelines are a welcome addition.

Ownership and Control

For the benefit of investors and airlines and in the interest of legal clarity, the EC has issued interpretive guidelines on the Ownership and Control of EU airlines as stated in regulation 1008/2008.

These guidelines detail the methodology followed by the EC when assessing Ownership and Control requirements in keeping with regulation 1008/2008, which is of particular relevance to foreign investment instances.

The Ownership and Control requirements to meet 1008/2008 regulations will be reviewed in a next step, and will if needed be adapted in keeping with a fast changing aviation sector.

ERA’s position has consistently been that the rules should be general liberalised and this first step and giving more clarity to the rules is also welcomed.

ERA is analysing both sets of guidelines and will report any pertinent issues to members. In the interim, members operating PSOs routes in particular or wising to operate PSO routes are encouraged to review the guidance.