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International aviation: United States

The EU-US Air Transport Agreement signed on 25 and 30 April 2007, was provisionally applied from 30 March 2008 for all EU Member States, and Amended by a Protocol, signed and provisionally applied on 24 June 2010. Norway and Iceland accession to the Air Transport Agreement as amended by the Protocol is provisionally applied from 21 June 2011.

The Agreement represents important steps towards the normalisation of the international aviation industry. The ultimate objective of the European Union is to create a transatlantic Open Aviation Area: a single air transport market between the EU and the US with free flows of investment and no restrictions on air services, including access to the domestic markets of both parties.

 

First Stage Agreement

The Air Transport Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, on the one hand, and the United States of America, on the other hand is provisionally applied as from 30 March 2008.

For the first time, European airlines could fly without restrictions from any point in the EU to any point in the US. The First Stage Agreement triggered a dramatic increase in services, particularly in those parts of the transatlantic market that were previously subject to significant restrictions on operations arising from the pre-existing bilateral agreements. Furthermore, it paved the way for much closer alliance agreements between airlines on both sides of the Atlantic, facilitating competition, particularly between hub carriers. The First Stage Agreement also established closer regulatory cooperation between the EU and the US aimed at a more effective combined response to major ever-evolving challenges such as the threat to aviation security and tackling aviation's impact on the environment. Since its implementation, the First Stage Agreement has helped facilitate airline and airport operations and encourage the authorities on both sides of the Atlantic to work together to reduce inconvenience for passengers and shippers.

Importantly, the First Stage Agreement also included a clear roadmap for negotiations on a Second Stage Agreement, laying out a non-exhaustive list of 'items of priority interest' for the negotiations.

 

Second Stage Agreement

The Protocol to amend the Air Transport Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the United States of America, of the other part was signed and provisionally applied as from 24 June 2010.

Following the launch of second stage negotiations in May 2008 and seven further rounds of talks, negotiators concluded the discussions with the initialing of the Second Stage Agreement on 25 March 2010. The Second Stage Agreement builds on the considerable benefits of the ground-breaking First Stage Agreement by providing for considerable further advances including additional investment and market access opportunities, as well as strengthening the framework of cooperation in regulatory areas such as safety, security and, in particular, the environment, where both sides agreed on a dedicated Joint Statement on the Environment.

 

Accession of Norway and Iceland

Norway and Iceland accession to the Air Transport Agreement as amended by the Protocol is provisionally applied as from 21 June 2011.

Article 18 (5) of the EU-US Air Transport Agreement confirms both Parties' goal of "maximising the benefits for consumers, airlines, labour and communities on both sides of the Atlantic by extending this Agreement to include third countries". Ensuring that the bilateral character of the EU-US Air Transport Agreement is maintained, the parties signed on 21 June 2011 two agreements:

Air Transport Agreement between the United States of America, of the first part, the European Union and its Member States, of the second part, Iceland, of the third part, and the Kingdom of Norway, of the fourth part is provisionally applied from 21 June 2011.

Ancillary Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the first part, Iceland, of the second part, and the Kingdom of Norway, of the third part, on the application of the Air Transport Agreement between the United States of America, of the first part, the European Union and its Member States, of the second part, Iceland, of the third part, and the Kingdom of Norway, of the fourth part is provisionally applied from 21 June 2011.

These Agreements ensure a consistent regulatory framework for flights between the US and the single aviation market in the EU – including Iceland and Norway.

Related documents

Ratification details

Air Transport Agreement signed on 25 and 30 April 2007

Protocol to amend the Air Transport Agreement signed on 24 June 2010

Accession of Norway and Iceland signed on 21 June 2011 - Air Transport Agreement

Ancillary Agreement

First Stage Air Transport Agreement

Air Transport Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America

Summaries of EU legislation: The First Stage Air Transport Agreement

Information note: Air Transport Agreement between the EU and US pdf - 53 KB [53 KB]

Presentation: EU/US First Stage Air Transport Agreement pdf - 159 KB [159 KB]

Study: The Economic Impacts of an Open Aviation Area between the EU and the US pdf - 9 MB [9 MB]

Second Stage negotiations

15 May 2008 - First round of negotiatons:

Joint Statement pdf - 118 KB [118 KB]

Opening speech by Mr Zoltán Kazatsay, Deputy Director-General, Directorate-General for Energy and Transport, European Commission pdf - 15 KB [15 KB]

Presentation by Mr Daniel Calleja, Director Air Transport, Directorate-General for Energy and Transport, European Commission pdf - 121 KB [121 KB]

24-25 September 2008 - second round of negotiations:

Joint Statement pdf - 8 KB [8 KB]

Speech of Mr. Daniel Calleja, Director Air Transport at the International Aviation Club September Luncheon pdf - 43 KB [43 KB]

25-26 June 2009 - third round of negotiations:

Joint Statement pdf - 234 KB [234 KB]

9-11 November 2009 - fifth round of negotiations:

Joint Statement pdf - 8 KB [8 KB]

Independent report by Claude Chêne; "Transatlantic Transnational Airline Companies: Taking Account of Social Issues" pdf - 68 KB [68 KB]

Second Stage Air Transport Agreement

Memorandum of Consultations accompanying the Second Stage Agreement pdf - 2 MB [2 MB]

The Second Stage Agreement (Protocol amending the First Stage Agreement) pdf - 4 MB [4 MB]

Joint Statement on the Environment pdf - 406 KB [406 KB]

Read more

History of a historical agreement

EU-US Aviation: the importance of reforming cross-border investment pdf - 59 KB [59 KB]

Events

22-23 June 2009: Second EU-US Labour Forum

3-4 December 2008: EU-US Aviation Forum on Liberalisation and Labour

Press room

Breakthrough in EU–US second-stage Open Skies negotiations: Vice-President Kallas welcomes draft agreement [IP/10/371, 25/03/2010] български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv)

FAQs on the second stage EU-US "Open Skies" agreement and existing first stage air services agreement [MEMO/10/103, 25/03/2010] български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv)

Negotiations on a second stage EU–US "Open Skies" agreement and existing first stage air services agreement — Frequently asked questions български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv)

EU-US "Open Skies": The EU and the US start talks on air services agreement to reshape global aviation, 15 May 2008 pdf - 18 KB [18 KB]

EU-US Open Skies: A new era in transatlantic aviation starts on 30 March български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv)

Picture gallery

15 May 2008: First Round of Negotiations on a Second Stage EU-US Air Transport Agreement zip - 13 MB [13 MB]