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EU: EC seeks air traffic deals with Gulf, Turkey, ASEAN countries

 |  June 8, 2016

EU member states gave the green light on June 7 for the European Commission to pursue air traffic agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey and countries in Southeast Asia to try to support its airlines.

Europe’s aviation industry, which contributes 110 billion euros to EU gross domestic product, has been hit by the rapid expansion of Gulf airlines such as Emirates , Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, as well as shifting traffic flows to Asia.

The Commission, the EU’s executive, asked member governments last December to give it a mandate to start talks on air transport agreements with countries including China, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.

Such agreements, now often done on a bilateral basis by individual governments, would set out where and how often foreign airlines could fly into the EU, and vice versa.

The Commission hopes the deals will give European airlines greater access to some of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets, notably the Gulf countries and Turkey, and bring billions of euros in economic benefits.

“Once agreed, these agreements will offer new business opportunities to the whole aviation sector, new routes and better fares to passengers, whilst guaranteeing a level playing field to our companies,” EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said.

Some European carriers, notably Lufthansa and Air France KLM, as well as major U.S. airlines, have accused Gulf carriers of receiving unfair state subsidies, allegations they have rejected.

The Commission will be able to seek fair competition and financial transparency provisions in the talks, a key demand of countries such as France and Germany.

Full Content: Hurriyet Daily News

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