Ukraine is, next to the Russian Federation, the largest neighbour of the enlarged European Union and a priority country in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy.
Ukraine is a rapidly growing aviation market with an annual average growth between 2007-2011 of 8.8%. In 2011, 3.7 million passengers travelled between the EU and Ukraine, up from 2.1 million in 2006. Ukraine has a strong tourism potential with more than 6 million foreign tourists annually.
The country is linked through bilateral air services agreements with all the 27 EU Member States.
In December 2005, Ukraine and the European Community signed a horizontal aviation agreement, which removed the nationality restrictions in the bilateral air services agreements between EU Member States and Ukraine and therefore allowed any EU airline to operate flights between any EU Member State and Ukraine. The horizontal agreement is applicable since 13 October 2006.
A year later, in December 2006, the Commission received a mandate to negotiate a comprehensive Common Aviation Area (CAA) agreement with Ukraine. The objective of the CAA agreement is to gradually extend the internal aviation market to Ukraine. The negotiations started in December 2007 and are still on-going.
As a member of ECAC (since 1999), Eurocontrol (since 2004) and candidate member to JAA , Ukraine is a full member of the European aviation family. However, regulatory standards in Ukraine need to be improved in terms of safety and competition aspects before Ukraine can be granted open access to the EU market. Therefore, the proposed agreement should foresee a gradual process of harmonisation with EU standards.