The Council approves new rules for the safeguard of competition in air transport

On 9 April 2019, the Council of the European Union adopted the Regulation on safeguarding competition in air transport, concluding the legislative procedure. The new Regulation, entering into force 20 days after the publicationin the EU Official Journal, replaces the existing Regulation No 868/2004, which has proved ineffective and has never been used in practice.

The new legislation aims at providing the European Union with an effective tool to address unfair commercial practices that may emerge in the air transport sector from companies located in non-EU countries.At international level, neither the World Trade Organisation (WTO) nor the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has a framework to regulate competition among air carriers.

The Regulation will allow the Commission to carry out investigationsand to adopt redressive measures, relating to practices distorting competition between Union air companies and third-country ones and causing, or threatening to cause, injury to EU air carriers. A written complaint submitted by a Member State, one or more EU air carriers or an association of EU air carriers, or on the Commission’s own initiative, is needed for an investigation to be initiated, while both financial and operational measures will be adopted by means of a Commission implementing act.

Sara Capruzzi