The European Union and Ukraine have initialled today a comprehensive Air Services Agreement at the margins of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. This Agreement opens the way towards a “Common Aviation Area” between the EU and Ukraine, based on common and reliable standards in important areas such as aviation safety and air traffic management. It will foster market access and offer new opportunities for consumers and airlines on both sides.

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for mobility and transport, said: “The Agreement reached in Vilnius today will allow the EU and Ukraine to become partners in aviation through gradual market integration. It is an important stepping stone for our strategy to achieve closer cooperation between the EU and its neighbours, particularly in the context of the Eastern Partnership.

Air transport for passengers as well as for cargo between Ukraine and the EU has been growing steadily in recent years. The Agreement aims to gradually open the respective aviation markets and integrate Ukraine into a wider European common aviation area. To attain these objectives, Ukraine will have to align its legislation with EU aviation standards and enforce EU requirements in areas such as aviation safety, air traffic management, security, environment, economic regulation, competition, consumer protection and social aspects.

Today’s Agreement is expected to offer further transport opportunities, more direct connections and economic benefits on both sides:

– New investment opportunities in airlines will open up by allowing reciprocal majority ownership. This will facilitate the development of airlines and the consolidation of the sector.

– As from IATA summer season 2015, all EU airlines will be able to operate direct flights to Ukraine from anywhere in the EU. The same will apply for Ukrainian airlines.

– All limitations to weekly flights between Ukraine and the EU will be removed, and free and fair competition will help the establishing of market prices for all flights.

On a parallel track, the two sides committed to cooperate in order to achieve convergence of the Ukrainian aircraft certification system with the EU relevant prerequisites.

This Agreement will promote free movement of persons and goods and expand commercial opportunities. As a consequence, it will be a valuable instrument for facilitating the application of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and in particular the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. These Agreements (tbc) are expected to be signed in Vilnius tomorrow.

Background information

The European Commission received a mandate for negotiating a “Common Aviation Area” Agreement with Ukraine in December 2006. Both sides will soon start their respective internal procedures for the signature of the Agreement and its entry into force. On the EU side, the Agreement will be forwarded to the Council and the European Parliament. Following the signature, the ratification process will begin.

Similar comprehensive air transport agreements have been signed with other neighbouring countries, namely the Western Balkans, Morocco, Georgia, Jordan, Moldova and Israel.

“By sharing the benefits of the single aviation market, Ukraine and the EU will improve their relationship and create huge benefits for aviation industries and consumers. As both aviation markets are closely connected and air traffic between them is growing, the agreement will not only open new possibilities in the respective markets but also integrate Ukraine into European aviation system. With such an agreement, we will also ensure high levels of safety and security and facilitate trade and social links with a close neighbour,” says Arijandas Šliupas, Viceminister of Transport and Telecommunications of Lithuania.

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