European Air Transport Regulation: Achievements and Future Challenges

67 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2015 Last revised: 18 Oct 2018

Date Written: October 13, 2018


European air transport policy, emerged through the confluence of case law and legislation, in four broad areas: liberalization, safety and security, greening, and the external policy. Following the implementation of the single market for air transport, policy shifted to liberalizing and regulating associated services and in recent years to greening, the external aviation policy, and safety and security. Inclusion of air transport in the Environmental Trading Scheme of the European Union exemplifies the European Commission’s proactive stand on bringing the industry in line with emission reduction trajectories of other industries. However, the bid to include flights to third countries in the trading scheme pushed EU into a controversial position, causing the Commission to halt implementation and give ICAO time to seek a global multilateral agreement. The chapter discusses also how the nationality clauses in air services agreements breached the Treaty of Rome, and a court ruling to that effect enabled the EC to extend EU liberalization policies beyond the European Union, resulting in the Common Aviation Area with EU fringe countries and the Open Aviation Area with the U.S. Another important are of progress was aviation safety, where the EU region is unsurpassed in the world, yet the Commission has pushed the boundary even further, by establishing the European Safety Agency to oversee the European Aviation Safety Management System. Another important area of regulatory development was aviation security, a major focus after the woeful events in 2001, but increasingly under industry scrutiny on costs and effectiveness. The chapter concludes by arguing that in the coming decade, the EU will strive to strengthen its position as a global countervailing power, symbolized in air transport by a leadership position in environmental policy, and international market liberalization, exemplified in the EU’s external aviation policy.

Keywords: Barroso, Air transport, European Union, ETS, Sustainability, Regulation, Future

JEL Classification: L93, R4

Suggested Citation

Gudmundsson, Sveinn Vidar, European Air Transport Regulation: Achievements and Future Challenges (October 13, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Sveinn Vidar Gudmundsson (Contact Author)

Toulouse Business School ( email )

20, bd Lascrosses
Toulouse, 31068


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