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Open Skies


By Arseniy Herasymiv, attorney at Ilyashev & Partners

Source: The Ekonomichna Pravda

On 28 November 2013, the European Union and Ukraine initialled the Common Aviation Area Agreement (the Open Skies) in Vilnius. The immediate details of the treaty are so far unknown.

Preceding the signing of the EU Common Aviation Area Agreement (ECAA) was the hard work that started back in December 2006, when the European Commission received a mandate for negotiating a Common Aviation Area agreement with Ukraine.

The general aim of the treaty is to enable both parties to fly unrestricted over each other’s territory. However, the spectrum of areas covered by ECAA is much wider than just free flights.

Specifically, ECAA offers new equal opportunities for competitors in the aviation market. Rules governing customs duties and taxation of market players are also an important part of the treaty.

In other words, all restrictions must be lifted and settlement procedures must be brought to a common standard. The treaty also deals with environmental and social aspects.

Admittedly, ECAA has both strong and weak sides. While consumers in Ukraine are mostly interested in cheaper flights and new low-cost carriers, domestic airlines will find it difficult to compete with the latter.

Obviously, security standards will be raised as well. This will bring additional costs to the airlines which, in turn, might affect prices.

Ukraine has found itself in a complex stage were it has to align its legislation with EU aviation standards. Say, in contrast to Moldova, Ukraine already has a developed aviation industry in place represented by Antonov Design Bureau, an aircraft plant, a number of aircraft repair facilities and a wide network of airfields and airports. All of these will have to brought in line with EU requirements, and the greater part of the work is due before the treaties are signed.

As the aviation market is growing, the industry will have to meet the global standards as an inevitable consequence of globalisation processes.

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