The European Union, the United States, Iceland, and Norway have today signed an aviation agreement to extends the scope of the EU-US Open Skies Agreement to Iceland and Norway
Antonio Tajani, Vice-President in charge of transport, said: “I welcome the accession of Iceland and Norway to the EU-US Aviation Agreement,” “The EU-US Air Transport Agreement has brought substantial benefits for passengers, airlines and airports on both sides of the Atlantic. The extension to Iceland and Norway will further increase these benefits.”
The EU-US Air Transport Agreement has been applied since March 30, 2008. That agreement represented a significant change in transatlantic aviation relations. It allows all EU airlines to fly without restriction between any airport in the EU and any airport in the US. The 50 million passengers per year on transatlantic flights have benefited from the increased competition. Furthermore, the agreement established a comprehensive framework for cooperation with the United States on a wide range of aviation issues, such as aviation security, competition policy, the environment and passenger rights. It has significantly reduced the regulatory burden for airlines on both sides of the Atlantic.
The agreement signed today in the margins of the Council of EU Transport Ministers will extend the application of the EU-US Air Transport Agreement to Iceland and Norway. Both countries are fully integrated in the single European aviation market and apply all EU aviation legislation.
Iceland and Norway participate as observers in the ongoing negotiations of a second-stage agreement between the EU and the US. These second-stage negotiations started in May 2008 and are aimed mainly at securing new investment opportunities and further liberalization of market access, in addition to further strengthening cooperation on environmental issues.
During their meeting on Dec.21, EU Transport Ministers also reviewed the progress made so far in the second-stage negotiations between the EU and the US. If no agreement has been reached by November 2010, both sides – now including Iceland and Norway on the European side – could suspend certain traffic rights.