International Air Service Agreements
An EU regulation provides for the negotiation and implementation of air service agreements between the member states and third countries. The regulation provides principles designed to ensure adequate exchange of information so that states in their bilateral agreements with third countries in the area of air service do not infringe EU laws.
In certain cases, the negotiation of such agreements is within the EU\’s competence. The EU must revise existing bilateral agreements that infringe EU laws. Given the large number of bilateral agreements, states are authorised to negotiate with third countries to modify agreements provided the EU has not entered negotiations. States must act in accordance with principles set out in the regulation. Regulations provide for notification and authorisation of negotiations by the states with commission consent. The rules apply to agreements and modification of existing agreements.
Harmonisation of Civil Aviation Matters
An EU Regulation harmonises civil aviation requirements and procedures. The purpose is to ensure common and high levels of safety to improve the functioning of the internal market. The requirements and administrative procedures in relation to the field of aviation as drawn up by the Joint Aviation Authorities are implemented. Common technical requirements and administrative procedures apply to all aircraft in use by EU operators.
The civil aviation authorities in states must ensure that the requirements for membership of the Joint Aviation Authority are met. Where aircraft operate under authorisation granted in an EU state in accordance with the above requirements and procedures, they may operate under identical conditions in other EU states without further technical requirements or evaluation. here is mutual recognition of EU certification to persons and entities within the state responsible for the operation of aircraft.
Where there is a failure of compliance, EU countries may take immediate action over safety issues. Where the standards themselves are found to be inadequate, the Commission must take steps to remediate the problem. The Commission is assisted by the European Aviation Safety Agency in relation to promulgation and fixing of standards.
EU states must notify the Commission of any new or amended procedures or changes to the arrangements themselves. The Commission, aided by the Air Safety Committee must amend the requirements as circumstances and progress, scientific and technology develop.
Operation of Air Services I
EU regulation provides for common rules for the operation of air services providers within the EU. The business established in the EU may not carry by air passengers mail or cargo unless they\’ve been granted a requisite operating licence by the authority within its state. The common EU regulation provides for the conditions for the granting of the licence.
The business must have an air operator certificate, comply with insurance and ownership requirements and have requisite financial guarantees. The management must prove that they are competent and of good repute.
The licence is to be valid for as long as the air carrier complies with the conditions set out in the regulation. Compliance is to be reviewed by the competent licensing authority every three years if necessary or requested by the Commission. Financial capacity and performance may be verified at any time.
Carriers must notify the competent authority of any modification of its activities including new services, changes in its composition etc. If they have significant financial consequences, the authority may require a business plan and may review the terms of the licence.
Operation of Air Services II
The authority may suspend the license based on financial considerations if it does not meet the requisite standards. A temporary licence may be granted subject to rectification of the financial position. Under certain circumstances, a licence may be suspended or revoked.
EU air carriers may operate services within the EU and states subject to obtaining the requisite licence. Restrictions may be imposed by a bilateral agreement provided they are necessary, are no more onerous than required and do not limit competition.
States may, subject to conditions regulate the distribution of air traffic between airports serving the same city or extended urban areas. They may limit traffic rights to deal with environmental problems in the event of an emergency.
Carriers are to freely set prices both for passenger and cargo traffic. Different requirements may be made where a public service obligation is required. The prices published must include all fees, taxes, surcharges and other foreseeable costs. Carriers must not discriminate in relation to access to fares between passengers or users of cargo service based on the place of residence or nationality within the EU.
States may impose a public service obligation for scheduled air routes between an airport and peripheral or development region in the EU or on a thin route within its state if this route is vital for the economic and social development of the region served. The exercise of rights is subject to EU national, regional and local operational rules relating to safety, security, environmental protection and slot allocation.
An EU directive provides for civil aviation licences for aircraft crew. Licences must be
recognised through the EU. The directive provides conditions under which states must accept licenses issued by other states. States must accept licenses issued by another state in accordance with the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation.
The holder must comply with the validation requirements described in the directive. Nationals of all states must be admitted to public and private training institutions and examinations without discrimination. States may decide whether they accept licences issued by other states and third parties.
Pilots and crew must have a licence and the requisite medical certificate for their functions. They must comply with theoretical and practical requirements, experience and language proficiency. The license and medical certificate must specify the terms and conditions, duration and validity.
Air transport operators must hold certificates. The extent and type of certificate depend on the nature of the operation.
Aircraft registered outside the EU and operated into the EU must comply with standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. Where there are no such standards, EU standards apply.
EU states must recognise certificates issued under the legislation in other states without further requirements. States the commission and the agency must cooperate to ensure compliance with the rules. They must share information. Entities which investigate accidents and incidents must have access to the necessary information.
States and the agency must conduct inspections and investigations and take steps to ensure compliance and termination of infringement. There are provisions for suspension and revocation of authorisation and certificates.
EU regulation provides essential requirements for airworthiness. Aircraft must meet the specified requirements. Similar requirements apply to parts, appliances. They must be compliant with the defined standards.
Aircraft design and production entities must be certified. Parts must have a type certificate and parts must be certified.
Certificates of airworthiness are issued for aircraft to ensure that they are safe. Certificates are issued for airworthiness, monitoring and maintenance. Maintenance staff must be licensed and qualified and accredited by a training centre which is itself certified and recognised.
Investigation of Accidents
An EU directive provides for common principle for investigation of civil aviation accidents and incidents. It applies to incidents and accidents within the EU, and those involving aircraft registered in the EU state which is operated by business based in the EU. There is an obligation to investigate every accident and a serious incident in order to prevent recurrence.
The directive provides for steps which the investigators may carry out. They are to have free access to the site of the accident, the aircraft, flight recorders and may examine remains. They may make tests, samples etc.
An independent the body is to be established for the purpose of investigations and inquiries. It may request and obtain the assistance of other state entities where necessary. States must monitor the steps taken to implement recommendations made.
Computerised air ticket reservation systems
Regulation (EC) No 80/2009 on a Code of Conduct for computerised reservation systems
It sets out a harmonised Code of Conduct on the use of computerised reservation systems (CRS) to ensure fair competition and protection of consumers’ rights.
It applies to air transport (and to rail transport when this is combined with a flight).
System vendors must not:
attach any unfair or unjustified conditions on airlines or on their own subscribers;
prevent an airline from using other reservation systems, including its own internet booking service and call centres;
reserve any specific loading or processing procedures for one or more participating carriers.
System vendors must:
load and process data provided by airlines with equal care and timeliness;
publicly disclose the extent of a direct or indirect capital holding they have in an airline or vice versa;
provide a principal display for each individual transaction through its CRS;
clearly identify in the display any airlines that are banned from flying within the EU;
process personal data only for the purposes (making a reservation or issuing a ticket) for which they were given;
submit an independently audited report on their ownership structure and governance model every 4 years.
System vendors may make available marketing, booking and sales data, provided these are offered on a non-discriminatory basis to all participating carriers and do not identify the customer.
If system vendors in a non-EU country discriminate against EU carriers, the European Commission may require vendors operating in the EU to apply the same treatment to that country’s airlines.
The Commission may impose fines not exceeding 10 % of the previous year’s total turnover on companies which intentionally or negligently fail to comply with the legislation.
In 2009, the Commission adopted an explanatory note explaining how it interprets the concept of a ‘parent carrier’ which may be able to have a decisive influence on the running of the system vendor’s business.
Application & Background
It applies since 29 March 2009.
For more information, see ‘Air transport — Distribution networks — CRS’ on the European Commission’s website.
KEY TERM System vendor: any body and its affiliates responsible for operating or marketing a CRS.
Regulation (EC) No 80/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 January 2009 on a Code of Conduct for computerised reservation systems and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 2299/89 (OJ L 35, 4.2.2009, pp. 47-55)
Explanatory note with regard to the definition of a parent carrier in Regulation (EC) No 80/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Code of Conduct for computerised reservation systems and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 2299/89 (OJ C 53, 6.3.2009, pp. 4-6)
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