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What Does Europe Do about Fair Competition in International Air Transport? A Critique of Recent Actions

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Document pages: 30 pages

Abstract: The States’ perception of what constitutes fair competition in international air transport has evolved from a quid pro quo approach in the era of airline regulation to a laissez-faire approach in the era of airline de-regulation. However, no consensus has ever been reached as to, first, what constitutes fair competition in an industry whose market access is still contingent on bilateral air services agreements (ASAs), and, second, what the pre-requisites of a level playing field are. The commercial success of the Gulf airlines has obliged regulators and policymakers around the world to revisit this issue and demand compliance with global rules. The EU has responded by adopting Regulation (EU) 2019 712 on safeguarding fair competition, as well as by championing the inclusion of fair competition clauses in ASAs. The analysis examines the compatibility of unilateral action under the Regulation with mutually negotiated solutions under ASAs so as to assess the legitimacy and efficiency of the EU strategy in the area of fair competition in international air transport.

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