External Relations

European network carriers provide strong added value for Europe in terms of connectivity. Cross-border flights are normally governed by bilateral agreements concluded between the two countries concerned known as Air Service Agreements (ASAs) which regulate the routes which can be flown, the airlines which may fly them, frequencies, capacities and even prices. The European Commission is engaged in a process of redefining the bilateral landscape involving EU Member States and third countries.  

Aviation competes as a service industry in a global market, therefore sustainable competitiveness depends on fair conditions of competitions. It is essential that EU carriers can compete on an open, fair and undistorted basis.

The European regulators have a vital role to play through the elaboration of new approaches that should be put in place simultaneously within the EU, where they have full capacity to enforce pro-industry policies, and in the rest of the world, where they should promote, bilaterally and/or multilaterally, a new regulatory framework based on fair competition in open markets. 

Passenger Name Record (PNR)

Due to the increasing number of PNR data requests from third countries, European airlines operating out of Europe have been put in the difficult position of being forced to refuse to transmit PNR data to these authorities in order to comply with either national or EU legislation on data protection. In several instances the refusal has resulted in threats of sanctions, either financial or operational, which could jeopardise the competitiveness of EU carriers.

The European airline industry strongly supports the Commission’s initiative to develop a specific EU instrument.  In the short term, such an instrument would resolve the current diplomatic deadlock with several countries.  In the longer term, and in parallel to developing a European instrument, the European Union should initiate a multilateral approach in order to conclude an international agreement.


Related Positions

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  • Shaping International Aviation Relations for the future

    6 August 2014 Download
  • Latest Position on PNR Data to Third Countries

    20 March 2014

    The Association of European Airlines (AEA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcome the initiative of the European Commission to initiate discussions for a new approach and proposal for the consistent and properly controlled transfer of PNR data to third countries. The roadmap published by DG HOME in October 2013 represents a constructive first step to explore possible solutions to the challenges currently faced by airlines considering the increasing number of PNR data requests from third countries.