Revision of the Air Services Regulation

EU Regulation No. 1008/2008 (the ‘Air Services Regulation’) is the basic legal act which governs the Union’s internal market for air services, establishing rules concerning, amongst other things:

  1. who can access the market and under what conditions;
  2. where and when European carriers can freely operate in the Union (and the exceptional situations in which this freedom may be restricted); and
  3. their freedom to set air fares or rates and how prices should be displayed to consumers.

Despite the fact that the Regulation has brought sizeable benefits in creating the Union’s internal market for air services, thereby bringing advantages to both consumers and airlines, over time several questions have been highlighted that need to be addressed in order to ensure a better functioning of the market.

More particularly, they concern:

  1. the financial fitness and resilience of air carriers;
  2. the insufficient resilience of the regulatory framework for air service; and
  3. the fact that the legal framework is not sufficiently aligned with the current policy objectives laid down in the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy in terms of promoting sustainable and socially responsible connectivity.

In this regard, the European Commission has launched a public consultation to gather the stakeholders’ views on the revision of the Air Services Regulation, which aims at strengthening the legal framework for the internal market for air services to take into account the experience gained during the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the industry, as well as the policy objectives set out in the European Green Deal and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy.

The initiative, therefore, aims to shape a more resilient and more sustainable European air services industry, while maintaining the highest levels of air safety and continuing to ensure connectivity and competition in the sector.

Stakeholders from national authorities, air carriers, airports, consumer and passenger associations, aircrew representatives and travel intermediaries are invited to submit their opinions by filling in the online questionnaire by May 26, 2022.