Magazine article Europe-East

Air Transport : Infringement Proceedings on Aviation Agreements with Russia

Magazine article Europe-East

Air Transport : Infringement Proceedings on Aviation Agreements with Russia

Article excerpt

France, Germany, Austria and Finland will have to provide explanations on their bilateral aviation agreements with Russia, which include provisions on the still highly controversial question of Siberian overflights. The European Commission announced on 28 October that it has initiated infringement proceedings against the four states by sending letters of formal notice. It is simultaneously continuing its review of aviation agreements between other member states and Russia.

The Commission finds fault with the agreements because they do not include an 'EU designation clause' recognising that the terms apply equally to all EU carriers and not just the airlines of the individual member state. This clause permits all EU airlines to establish routes to a third country from any member state that has an agreement with that country. As a result of the open skies' case-law of November 2002, this clause must be written into all bilateral aviation agreements. Hundreds have already been revised. However, Russia is one of the few non-EU states refusing to adapt along these lines the aviation agreements concluded with member states. By opening infringement proceedings, the Commission hopes to step up the pressure.

These agreements also contain clauses on the charges airlines must pay to Aeroflot for flights over Siberia, the route to many Asian destinations (US$420 million in charges in 2008, according to the Commission). …

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