European Union signs air transport pacts with Canada, Iceland, Norway and countries in Africa

Monday, December 21, 2009, 20:11 by Jose Philip

The European Union (EU) is liberalizing air transport with Canada, Iceland, Norway, as well as a few countries in Africa.

The three international agreements on air transport were signed on the sidelines of the recent Council of Transport Ministers held in Brussels, Belgium.

According to the deal signed with Canada, all airlines based in the member-countries of the European Union can operate direct flights to Canada from anywhere in Europe, and not just from their home country, the European Commission (EC), the executive arm of European Union, said in a statement.

In effect, the deal – which was agreed upon one year ago – takes away all restrictions on prices, routes, and the number of weekly services between Canada and the member-countries of the European Union. It will also introduce what the European Commission calls a “one-stop security system” and is capable generating economic benefits worth 72 million euros.

The agreement, the European Commission added, also will allow European Union-based companies to invest in Canada-based carriers, and vice versa.

The new pact replaces all bilateral deals currently in place between Canada and the member-states of the European Union. These pacts come to a total of about 20 – and some of them were signed in the 960s.

The new agreement removes all restrictions on itineraries, prices, or the number of weekly flights between Canada and the European Union.

Norway and Iceland, which are not members of the European Union, agreed to join the open-skies agreement, signed between the European Union and the United States in 2008, that lets airlines based in the European Union fly without curbs between any airport in the United States and in the member-nations of the of the EU.

Also, the European Union signed agreements on liberalization of air transport with the member-countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, including Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Senegal, Mali, Togo, and Burkina Faso.

According to the European Commission, these pacts will give “legal certainty” to bilateral air services between the member-states of both the European Union and the West African Economic and Monetary Union and give the Africa-based carriers more chances to operate services to the EU from the member-countries of WAEMU.

The deal allows any Europe-based airline to operate flights between any member-nation of the European Union and also any member-state of the West African Economic and Monetary Union where a bilateral pact is already in place and where air traffic rights are offered.

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