The European Parliament has approved new rules on fair competition in air transport

On 20 March 2018 the Committee Transport and Tourism (TRAN) of the European Parliament, adopted the report of the Rapporteur Markus Pieperregarding the Commission proposal of June 2017 on safeguarding competition in air transport. The new rules set up a more effective complaints-handling mechanism to investigate possible unfair practices by non-EU countries, such as subsidies to non-EU airlines, preferential access to airport services or unfair pricing by non-EU country airlines, ensuring fair competition between Union air carriers and third country air carriers and maintaining a high level of connectivity.

The new rules provide that an investigation may be opened on the basis of a complaint from a Member State, an EU air carrier or an association of EU air carriers, or on the Commission’s own initiative.

The investigation should take no longer than 12 months of the 2‑year time limit for proceedings. However, where there is a risk of immediate and irreversible injury to European carriers, time of proceedings could be reduced to six months. In case of injury or threat of injury to a European airline, the Commission can propose compensatory measures such as financial or operational measures. Moreover, during the investigations, provisional repressive measures can be taken when there is a threat of irreversible injury to European airlines and if needed for dissuasive reasons or in the case of complex investigations.

Markus Pieper, member of the Transport Committee MEPs said: “The new rules fill a significant gap in our legislation. They provide European airlines with an effective tool to enforce fair competition”.