International civil aviation
Civil aviation is international by nature, and thus especially vulnerable. As far back as 1944, the international community agreed in the Chicago Convention on fundamental rights and obligations, and founded the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) based in Montreal. The multilateral convention developed by the ICAO is complemented by a network of bilateral air transport agreements. The Federal Republic of Germany has been a member of the ICAO since 1956 and today it is one of the world’s leading civil aviation nations. Our around 140 bilateral air transport agreements require constant further development, as well as adaptation to bring them into line with EU community law. To this end, the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs is responsible for conducting regular bilateral consultations or negotiations with the support of the Federal Foreign Office.
Germany well positioned
The aviation sector has enjoyed strong growth for many years now and this growth is likely to continue in the coming years thanks to the anticipated considerable rise in demand throughout the world. However, the high price of oil and the economic crisis have put a damper on business and many airlines are operating at a loss. The aviation sector’s period of consolidation continues. The two German international hubs, Frankfurt and Munich airports, are about to undergo expansion to increase their capacity. The new Berlin Brandenburg International airport will open in 2012, while Leipzig/Halle airport plays an important role in the cargo sector due to its possibility to operate 24 hours per day. Lufthansa, Air Berlin and other German carriers invest in new machines and expand their network of destinations on a regular basis.
The role of the European Union
The European Union has a liberalized air transport market which is being further expanded. The drawing up of an EU-wide blacklist of non-European airlines which pose a safety risk should ensure greater security. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) was established to lay down rules and requirements on civil aviation safety and sustainable environmental protection. The agreement in February 2004 on the creation of a Single European Sky is intended to shape aviation safety at European level in order, inter alia, to reduce “holding patterns” and delays in air travel.
The EU’s air transport agreements with third countries
Following a case-by-case review by the EU/European Commission, the EU member states transferred responsibility for negotiating certain comprehensive air transport agreements. Agreements have already been concluded with Morocco, Canada and the states of the Western Balkans. An open sky agreement was concluded with the US at the end of April 2007 and a follow-on second-stage agreement was signed in spring 2010. The European Commission also has mandates to negotiate comprehensive air transport agreements with the following countries: Brazil, Ukraine, Jordan, Israel, Georgia, Australia and New Zealand. A preliminary agreement was reached in November 2006 in the EU’s negotiations with Russia, under which the Siberian overflight payments paid by European carriers are to be abolished by the start of 2014. However, Russia has yet to sign the agreement. In June 2008, the European Union agreed on binding rules for climate protection in connection with air transport. From 2012 onwards, all aviation activities within the EU – and this would also apply to carriers from non-EU countries – are to be integrated into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
Last updated 13.07.2011