EU Signs Aviation Agreement With Japan

EU Japan
Credit: Aleksandra Aleshchenko/Getty Images

The Council of the European Union (EU) and Japan have reached an aviation agreement designed to further strengthen cooperation and enable airlines to expand their services more easily.

The agreement will give all EU-based airlines non-discriminatory access to routes between the EU and Japan. It will supersede existing provisions in 13 bilateral air services agreements between EU member states and Japan.

The Council said the move would promote “open and fair competition” and “create a level playing field for EU carriers.”

“This agreement will allow all EU air carriers to benefit from the right of establishment when providing air services to Japan, thus bringing existing bilateral agreements of our member states in line with Union law,” Swedish Infrastructure Minister Andreas Carlson said Feb. 20. Sweden currently holds the presidency of the EU Council.

At the present time, traditional designation clauses in member states’ bilateral air services agreements infringe EU law. They allow a third country to reject, withdraw or suspend the permissions or authorizations of an airline that has been designated by a member state but that is not substantially owned by that state.

Following the signing of the agreement, it will be sent to the European Parliament for its consent before coming back to the Council for its conclusion.

Traffic between Europe and Japan has been slower to recover since the pandemic because of Japan’s prolonged travel restrictions and the closure of Russian airspace, which remains shut to EU and Japanese airlines.

OAG data shows there are currently 60,000 two-way nonstop Europe-Japan weekly seats available—about half the number offered before the COVID crisis.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.