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Hamad International Airport, Doha

EU and Qatar agree landmark aviation deal

The EU’s “comprehensive air services agreement” is one of several in the works with countries such as Turkey and Oman.

The European Union has concluded negotiations with Qatar on a “comprehensive air services agreement”, which both sides claim will ensure transparency and fair competition, Air Transport World reports.

A resulting draft agreement, which has been worked on for more than eight years, will now go to the 28 individual nations of the EU to approve, a process that is expected to lead to a final agreement in a little over six months.

Talks to reach a similar deal between the EU and Oman are due to start next month.

Other EU aviation agreements in the works include one with the Association of South East Asian Nations, which is now being finalised, and one with Turkey which is in an “active” phase, Henrik Hololei, the European Commission’s director general for mobility and transport, said in Doha.

“This agreement will put in place a single set of rules for all services between the EU and Qatar,” Violeta Bulc, European commissioner for transport, said. “It will create new jobs, business opportunities and provide better prices for passengers.”

Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al Baker added: “As a result of this agreement, we will have a predictable legal framework between the two parties. I see a lot of possibilities.”

Not just traffic rights
The agreements the EU is working on with different countries and regions “go well beyond mere traffic rights,” Hololei explained at the CAPA 2019 Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical & Regulatory Summit taking place in Doha this week, describing the Qatar deal as a milestone agreement and the first of its kind with a Gulf nation.

The agreement is expected to improve transparency and ensure open and fair markets, he said.

“It aims for clear cooperation in all aspects of aviation: safety, air traffic management modernisation, social issues and consumers’ rights, etc.”

He declined to go into detail but made it clear that trading conditions will be eased because EU carriers will no longer need a general sales agent in Qatar as a condition for operating there.

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