Brussels, 30th November 2007
Better safety and more price transparency:
the EU strengthens the air transport sector for more competition and better
The Commission welcomes the agreement, reached
after less than one year between the Council and the European Parliament on the
proposal to modernise the Single Market legislation for air transport. The new
legislation foresees in particular to impose price transparency, to better
control the airlines for more safety and quality for the passengers.
"The liberalisation of air transport is a European success story: citizens
enjoy more travel opportunities and lower fares than ever before. Today, we
consolidate this success by ensuring fair competition between airlines and
strengthening safety control”, said Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of
the European Commission responsible for transport. “From now on,
passengers will enjoy the benefits of the Single Market and will
receive complete information on the exact ticket prices, without any
discrimination”, he added.
The liberalisation of air transport within the EU, initiated a decade ago,
has been a great success. Air transport in Europe has experienced an
unprecedented expansion at affordable fares. The number of airlines has risen,
and there has been a general increase in the amount of traffic and competition
on routes. Since the full liberalisation in 1997, the number of routes has
increased by more than 60%: more cities are covered, including in remote
regions. The emergence of new competitors made prices go down dramatically on
many routes: today it is generally cheaper to travel by air, and more and more
European citizens can afford it. These developments contributed widely to
economic growth and the creation of jobs directly and indirectly.
This huge success must be consolidated. The new regulation improves
substantially the current legislation.
- Travellers will be better informed and able to compare the prices:
from now on the price published will have to include all the taxes, fees,
surcharges and other fees. This measure completes the directive on the unfair
commercial practices, which
requires that information on the prices have to comprise the taxes as from
December 2007. Passengers will benefit from the precise information on the
actual price. This will allow comparing prices effectively and avoiding
misleading advertisement. Moreover, any price discrimination between passengers
solely on the basis of their place of residence within the European Union or
their nationality will be prohibited.
- The national authorities will control more the airlines in order to
guarantee better quality of service, increased safety and to prevent
bankruptcies. The regulation ensures stricter and harmonised application of
the rules everywhere in the EU: operating licences of airlines shall be
monitored with the same level of severity in all Member States. It streamlines
the financial conditions that all EU airlines have to fulfil and the monitoring
of these by Member States. It clarifies the criteria for the granting and
validity of the licence to operate in the EU. The proposal eases the leasing of
aircraft registered in the EU but introduces stricter requirements for the
leasing of third country aircraft – especially when leased with crew - to
ensure safety standards.
- The rules applicable to public service obligations have been revised to
diminish red tape. The new rules will avoid excessive recourse by Member
States to public service obligations for closing certain markets from
competition. The Commission may require an economic report explaining the
context of the PSO and analysing its adequacy. The needs of the Outermost
Regions (RUP) are taken into account by allowing, if necessary, a concession
extended to 5 years.
- The Regulation envisages more effective measures for traffic distribution
between airports serving the same city or conurbation. Under the control of
the Commission, traffic distribution rules will have to fulfil requirements such
as non-discrimination. Airports will have to set up effective transport
infrastructures for the passengers' benefit.
- The Regulation will abolish the remaining restrictions in bilateral air
service agreements between Member States with respect to intra-Community air
 Directive 2005/29/EC of
the European Parliament and of the Council, of 11 May 2005, relating to the
unfair commercial practices of the companies with respect to the consumers in
the internal market and amending Council Directive 84/450/EEC and Directives
97/7/EC and 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and
Regulation (EC) n° 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council
("directive on the unfair commercial practices").