EU holds talks with Qatar, UAE on air transport agreements

BRUSSELS, June 7 (KUNA) — EU transport ministers meeting here Tuesday agreed to allow the European Commission to start negotiations on comprehensive EU air transport agreements with Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and as well as with Turkey and with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The UAE, Qatar and Turkey are among the most dynamic and fastest growing aviation markets in the world, said the ministers in a statement.
UAE and Qatar airports are major hubs, and their airlines benefit from a favourable geographic location and political choices by local governments to invest in aviation as a strategic economic sector. The UAE has more direct traffic with the EU than China, India and Japan combined. The EU-UAE market is the sixth largest extra-EU market with 18.2 million passengers per year. The EU-Qatar market amounts to 4.4 million passengers, said the statement.
Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the Netherlands Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment whose country holds the current EU Presidency, said in a press statement that: “Europe is showing leadership in its external aviation policy with a balanced approach consisting of market opening based on fair and transparent market conditions.” The goal of comprehensive EU-level aviation agreements is to create new business opportunities, improve market access and ensure fair competition under transparent market conditions, noted the statement.
The agreement with ASEAN is set to become the first EU bloc-to-bloc aviation agreement.
The European Commission will carry out the negotiations on behalf of the EU and its member states. (end) nk.ajs