European Commission launched (28-Oct-2010) infringement procedures against France, Germany, Austria and Finland over agreements with Russia on Siberian overflights. The Commission sent formal requests for information to the parties, regarding their bilateral aviation agreements with Russia. The Commission is actively assessing the compliance with EU law of the bilateral air service agreements which all 23 other member states have with Russia. The Commission has concerns over two main issues:
- The agreements in question do not contain a clause recognising that the terms apply equally to all EU carriers, despite the open skies case-law of the EU's Court of Justice;
- Bilateral air service agreements between the four member states and Russia contain specific provisions on the setting of traffic rights as well as on the modalities for fixing the charges that EU-designated carriers must pay to Aeroflot in order to fly over Siberia on their way to Asia. The Commission is concerned that such provisions may be in breach of EU antitrust rules and could lead to competition distortions to the disadvantage of both EU airlines and consumers. The Commission is actively assessing the compliance with EU law of the 23 other member states' bilateral air service agreements with Russia.
If the Commission concludes that the bilateral air service agreements with Russia are in breach of EU law, the Commission may decide to request France, Germany, Austria and Finland to amend these agreements. [more]