8 Jun 2017

EU Propose Strengthening Airline Competition Laws

etihad plane in flight

European airlines have frequently complained that they face unfair competition from Gulf carriers (Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways), due to illegal government subsidies which allow them to offer cheaper flights. There are also allegations of other unfair and favourable treatment of the gulf airlines, with regards to slot allocation, ground handling services, airport charges and refuelling, among others. The Gulf airways have fervently denied these allegations, but EU lawmakers are proposing to re-write ineffective competition laws to prevent this unfair business practise.

The proposals are being suggested in response to complaints from some of the main EU carriers, such as Air France KLM and Lufthansa. Yet to be agreed by the European Parliament, the new legislation would seek to stop airlines from outside of the EU operating unfairly and will look to impose duties and even possibly suspend some operating rights of airlines breaking the law. The essence of the proposal is that sanctions could be imposed on airlines whose unfair practises have been found to harm European carriers.

The commission has stated that they would not seek to impose sanctions on non-EU airlines if this will cause harm to EU citizens or parties.

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