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Guides on the EU policy on airlines.
Airline Ticket selling websites – EU Enforcement Results - briefing
New EU results published by the European Commission today show a "step change" in airline ticket selling websites across Europe in terms of compliance with consumer protection rules. The findings feature in a final report on an 18 month EU-wide process to crackdown on misleading advertising and unfair practices. As a result of an EU enforcement investigation started in September 2007 – with 15 EU national authorities and Norway - 115 airline websites out of the 137 websites investigated have been corrected. Following an additional "health check" process involving independent mystery shopping in March 2009 on 67 major airlines, 52 airlines have either been given a "clean bill of health" and undertaken to maintain the same standards or immediately responded to the Commission's consultation with undertakings to remedy outstanding issues (see lists below). The health check process checked websites against a comprehensive 14 point checklist, which was previously agreed with the airline industry. The Commission is now working to put in place an industry wide agreement to provide a level playing field for airlines across the EU and to maintain sites to a high standard.
EU-Canada aviation agreement - briefing
A breakthrough in the EU-Canada negotiations on a large aviation agreement was made on 9 December. Negotiators from the EU and Canada had initialled a few days ago a comprehensive agreement on air services in line with the conclusions of the EU-Canada summit on 17 October. The agreement will be a major step in the opening of markets and investment opportunities. It both completes the transatlantic market started with the EU-US first stage aviation agreement, and goes well beyond it. The agreement will generate major benefits for both partners' consumers, airlines and broader economies.
Alitalia decision and state aid to the air transport sector
The European Commission today concluded that the sale of Alitalia’s assets does not constitute State aid provided that the Italian authorities fully comply with the undertakings they have given. The sale is planned in the context of the special administration procedure which will lead to the winding-up of the Italian airline. The Commission has therefore given Italy the go-ahead to start selling the assets. The decision follows the Commission’s earlier decision to close the official State aid investigation procedure it started on 11 June 2008 to look into a €300 million loan from Italy to Alitalia. The Commission’s conclusion was that the loan was unlawful aid and incompatible with the common market.
New framework for air services in the European Union - briefing
Improved safety and price transparency: these are the key features of the new EU Regulation on the single market for air transport which enters into force on 1 November 2008. It lays down rules for the granting of licences, control of airlines and market access, thereby ensuring more competition in the air transport field and better quality for the public. The new legislation requires airlines to include all taxes and charges in their published ticket prices. This will enable passengers throughout the European Union to be better informed about prices and to compare offers. Price discrimination based on place of residence is banned.
EP vote on including aviation in EU Emissions Trading System - guide
The European Parliament voted at second reading in favour of including aviation in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The vote confirms the agreement reached between the Parliament and the Council last month. Under the new directive greenhouse gas emissions from flights to, from and within the EU will be included in the EU ETS from 2012. All airlines will be covered whatever their nationality. Like the industrial companies already covered by the EU ETS, airlines will be able to sell surplus allowances if they reduce their emissions and will need to buy additional allowances if their emissions grow.
Single European Sky II - guide
The European Commission adopted on 25 June the second package of legislation for a Single European Sky (SES II). These proposals aim to further improve safety, cut costs and reduce delays. That will in turn mean lower fuel consumption, so that airlines could save up to 16 million tons of CO2 emissions and cut their annual cost by between two and three billion euros. This full reform of the European air traffic management system will be key to managing the doubling of traffic expected by 2020. Not only airline passengers, but also freight forwarders and military and private aviation will benefit. The package will create additional jobs in aviation. Meanwhile, European manufacturing industry will gain from being at the forefront of innovation in air traffic management technology (i.e. satellite based systems - Galileo, datalink, etc.), thus giving it a competitive edge on global markets.
Airline Ticket selling website - EU Enforcement Results - guide
The European Commission today published the mid term report on an EU wide enforcement investigation - involving 15 EU national authorities as well as Norway – against misleading advertising and unfair practices on airline ticket selling websites. The report shows that there are "serious and persistent consumer problems" throughout the airline industry as a whole. 1 in 3 websites surveyed (137 out of 386 originally checked by the 13 reporting countries) have had to be followed up with enforcement action over the last 7 months for breaches of EU consumer law. Over 50% of those websites have been corrected during this time.
US Visa Waiver Program - guide
The EU Council on 18 April authorised the European Commission to open negotiations on an agreement between the European Community and the United States of America regarding certain conditions for access to the United States' Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
Access to air transport for persons with reduced mobility - guide
On 26 July 2007 new rules enter into force to offer disabled and elderly people access to air transport which is comparable to that of any other passengers flying from airports in the European Union.
State aid for airports and start-up aid to airlines - questions & answers
In September 2005 the European Commission adopted "Community guidelines on financing of airports and start-up aid to airlines departing from regional airports" (hereinafter the 2005 aviation guidelines). These guidelines were put in place to codify Commission practice and to take account of changes which had taken placed in the European aviation market. The 2005 guidelines reflect the jurisprudence of the "Aeroports de Paris" cases wherein the European Courts have clarified that airport management and operation activities consisting in the provision of airport services to airlines and to the various service providers within airports are economic activities. The guidelines also reflect the competitive situation of the fully liberalised air transport market in place since the completion of the third aviation liberalisation packet in the 1990s.
European Commission prohibition of Ryanair's proposed acquisition of Aer Lingus – frequently asked questions
The European Commission on 27 June 2007 prohibited, on the basis of the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed takeover by Ryanair of Aer Lingus. It says the acquisition would have combined the two leading airlines operating from Ireland which currently compete vigorously against each other. The Commission concluded that the merger would have harmed consumers by removing this competition and creating a monopoly or a dominant position on 35 routes operated by both parties. This would have reduced choice and, most likely, led to higher prices for more than 14 million EU passengers using these routes to and from Ireland each year. The Commission's investigation and market test of remedies offered by Ryanair demonstrated that these remedies were inadequate to remove the competition concerns. In particular the limited number of airport "slots" offered was not likely to lead to competition sufficient to replace the competitive pressure currently exercised by each airline on the other. The Commission therefore concluded that the concentration would significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area or a substantial part of it.