May 25, 2022

Commission public consultation on the revision of the Air Services Regulation

On March 3, 2022, the European Commission has launched a public consultation for the revision of the Air Services Regulation. Until May 26, 2022anyone interested is invited to submit comments on the problems that this initiative aims to solve, the possible objectives of the revision of the regulations, as well as the possible measures envisaged to solve the problems identified.

The European Commission is currently examining Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 2008 establishing common rules for the operation of air services within the Community (“Air Services Regulation”). This revision is part of the desire to make aviation more sustainable, smarter, more resilient and socially responsible.

As a reminder, following the liberalization of air transport, the Air Services Regulation establishes common rules for air services in the EU, including requirements for operating licenses, freedom to provide services and how prices should be displayed to consumers.

The Commission published the July 9, 2019 an assessment of the Air Services Regulation, in particular in the light of EU environmental policies. Indeed, the air services sector is today facing new challenges. In this assessment, the Commission found that the Air Services Regulation has succeeded in consolidating the EU internal market for air services and has therefore brought significant benefits to consumers, airlines, airports and cabin crew. , all of which have benefited from increased development opportunities through new routes, new business models, a wider range of fares and better overall quality of service for consumers.

In addition, the review identified a limited number of areas for improvement to ensure a better functioning of the internal market for air services, such as decarbonisation and smarter, more resilient and socially responsible digitalisation – these objectives being set at of the EU in the “European Green Deal” and the “Smart and sustainable mobility strategy“.

As part of this review, the Commission concluded that a revision of the Air Services Regulation had become necessary.

On December 9, 2020, in its communication on the “Strategy for sustainable and intelligent mobility – Putting European transport on the right track for the future”, the Commission confirmed its intention to review the regulation on air services. This communication aimed in particular to support the modernization efforts undertaken in each mode of transport in order to offer EU citizens smart, sustainable and high-quality connectivity at affordable and transparent prices.

In this context, the European Commission has therefore invited all interested parties to submit their comments on this issue.

At this stage, the Commission has identified the following issues:

I. Financial capacity and resilience of airlines

During the COVID-19 crisis, many otherwise profitable airlines faced a dramatic drop in revenues and had to increase their capital levels to cope with the crisis. As part of its impact assessment, the Commission will examine the need for possible changes to ensure that EU airlines can continue to have adequate access to capital while preserving the EU’s strategic autonomy ( taking into account existing and future tools at EU level for foreign investment), the respect of social rights and the promotion of the green transition within the European aviation sector.

Insufficient resilience of the air services regulatory framework.

ii. The COVID-19 crisis has revealed some problems with the existing emergency procedure for public service obligations in the event of sudden traffic disruption. Although national authorities can take measures to restrict or prohibit flights in order to deal with sudden problems in a short-term emergency situation, their possibilities are limited if the crisis lasts more than 14 days and creates a heavy burden. procedure for these authorities and for the Commission.

iii. The existing legal framework is not sufficiently aligned with the current policy objectives set out in the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy in terms of promoting sustainable and socially responsible connectivity.

Please find below the link to the public consultation:

https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/13255-Revision-of-the-Air-Services-Regulation_en.