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Aviation Strategy for Europe

Commission approves €4.4 million Bulgarian support measure to Burgas and Varna airports in the context of the #Coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission has approved a €4.4 million Bulgarian support measure to Burgas and Varna airports in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the state aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of a deferral of the payments of the concession fees due by Fraport Twin Star Airport Management AD, the company managing the two airports, to the Bulgarian government which owns the airports' infrastructures.

The purpose of the measure is to help the two airports addressing the liquidity shortages that they are facing due to the coronavirus outbreak, by reducing the costs borne by the airport operator. The Commission found the measure to be in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework.

In particular, the payment deferral may only be granted until the end of this year and its duration will be for one year. Furthermore, the payment deferral involves minimum remuneration in line with the Temporary Framework.

The Commission therefore concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU state aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.58095 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

Aviation Strategy for Europe

Commission approves €25 million Belgian aid to support the ground handling service provider Aviapartner in context of #Coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission has approved a €25 million Belgian individual aid measure to support Aviapartner, a ground handling service provider at Brussels National Airport (Zaventem). The measure was approved under the state aid Temporary Framework. The measure provides aid in the form of a convertible loan. The aim of the recapitalization measure is to ensure that Aviapartner has sufficient liquidity to continue its operations. Aviapartner is an essential operator at Brussels National Airport (Belgium's main airport).

A failure of Aviapartner would cause major disturbance to the Belgian economy and connectivity. The Commission found that the measure notified by Belgium is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the measure will not exceed the minimum needed to ensure the viability of Aviapartner and will not go beyond restoring  its capital position to before the coronavirus outbreak, (ii) the scheme provides an adequate remuneration for the state; (iii) the conditions of the measures incentivise beneficiaries and/or their owners to repay the support as early as possible; (v) safeguards are in place to make sure that beneficiaries do not unduly benefit from the recapitalization aid by the state to the detriment of fair competition in the Single Market, such as an acquisition ban to avoid aggressive commercial expansion.

The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU state aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.57637 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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Aviation Strategy for Europe

Commission signs #AviationAgreement with #Japan

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On 22 June, the European Commission and Japan signed an agreement on civil aviation safety, which will further boost the EU's already strong co-operation with Japan and reinforce the competitiveness of the EU's aviation industry.

This bilateral civil aviation safety agreement (BASA) will support EU manufacturers of aeronautical products to increase their trade and market share in the Japanese market. The BASA will remove unnecessary duplications of evaluation and testing activities for aeronautical products, decrease costs for authorities and the aviation industry and promote cooperation between the civil aviation authorities of the EU and Japan. Common rules will facilitate the co-operation of European and Japanese companies and decrease the administrative burden for authorities, creating better opportunities for investment and strengthening economic prosperity and growth.

Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean said: “This agreement will facilitate our aviation industry's access to the Japanese aeronautical products market, helping this hard-hit sector recover from the crisis. We are also stepping up cooperation between the EU and Japanese aviation authorities, towards an even higher level of civil aviation safety and environmental compatibility.”

The full press release and the agreement are available online. 

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Aviation Strategy for Europe

Aviation safety: Commission adopts new #EUAirSafetyList

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The European Commission has updated the EU Air Safety List, the list of airlines that are subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union as they do not meet international safety standards. The Commission wishes to ensure the highest level of air safety for all passengers travelling in the European Union.

Following today's update, all airlines certified in Armenia have been added to the list, after further assessment of the country's safety oversight capabilities. This decision follows the hearings of the Armenian Civil Aviation Committee (CAC) and six Armenian air carriers.

In addition, the list of air carriers certified in Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nepal, and Sierra Leone has been reviewed and amended, with new carriers from these countries added, and carriers which do not exist any longer removed.

Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean said: “The EU Air Safety List should be used as an instrument that helps airlines and countries listed reassess and improve their flying standards. The decision to include the Armenian carriers on the EU Air Safety List has been made based on the unanimous opinion delivered by the Air Safety Committee. The Commission, with the assistance of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, stands ready to cooperate and invest in Armenia to improve its aviation safety.”

The EU Air Safety List not only helps to maintain high levels of safety in the EU, but also helps affected airlines and countries to improve their levels of safety, in order for them to eventually be taken off the list. In addition, the EU Air Safety List has become a major preventive tool, as it motivates countries with safety problems to act upon them before a ban under the EU Air Safety List would become necessary.

Following today's update, a total of 96 airlines are banned from EU skies:

  • 90 airlines certified in 16 states*, due to inadequate safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states, and;
  • six individual airlines, based on serious safety deficiencies identified: Avior Airlines (Venezuela), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).

An additional three airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran) and Air Koryo (North Korea).

Background

Today's update of the Air Safety List is based on the unanimous opinion of the aviation safety experts from the Member States who met from 12-14 May 2020 under the auspices of the EU Air Safety Committee (ASC), via videoconference. This Committee is chaired by the European Commission with the support of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The update equally got the support from the European Parliament's Transport Committee. Assessment is made against international safety standards, and notably the standards promulgated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The Commission is constantly looking at ways to improve aviation safety, notably through collaborative efforts with aviation authorities worldwide to raise global safety standards.

More information

Questions & answers on the EU Air Safety List

List of airlines banned within the EU 

Importance of aviation for the European economy

EASA Technical Cooperation Projects

*Afghanistan, Angola (with the exception of 2 airlines), Armenia, Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Moldova (with the exception of three airlines), Nepal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone and Sudan.

 

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