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EU to take on unfair competition from non-EU airlines

The European Commission is looking at ways to tackle potential unfair competition in the airline industry, according to Reuters10 Nov 2015

The Commission is working on a new regulation in response to claims that some carriers from the Middle East benefit from unfair subsidies by foreign governments that discriminate EU carriers, and that the EU's current law is ineffective, according to a document seen by Reuters.

"On this basis, and pending the establishment of an international instrument, the Commission is of the opinion that there is a need for an effective EU defence instrument against unfair practices by third country airlines," the document said, according to Reuters.

The new law is likely to be broader than the current one, and to give the Commission more powers to investigate alleged unfair competition, Reuters said.

It may also change the evidence needed to open an investigation and introduce new sanctions, such as the restriction or suspension of traffic rights, Reuters said.

The proposal is expected to be published in 2016, the news agency said.

Some organisations disagree on the need for legislation. Airports Council International (ACI) Europe and the European Travel Commission issued a joint statement in June which said: "Europe’s airports and tourism organisations do not regard the public financing of airport infrastructure, start-up aid for airlines and more favourable fiscal regimes as necessarily involving unfair competition – but rather as legitimate economic development policy choices, made by the Gulf States."