Qatar Airways and the European Union officials, gathered for the CAPA Qatar Aviation, Aero-political and Regulatory Summit in Doha, announced that the talks on open skies agreement have concluded, and will provide broader access to carriers from both sides
In a strategically significant move, Qatar and the EU, will soon conclude the final terms for an open skies agreement, as confirmed by both sides, on Tuesday.
Expected to be signed this year, this will be a part of a broader air service agreement, terms of which have not been disclosed yet. Qatar Airways, in a statement released on February 5, remarked that the agreement signifies “all air carriers from the 28 European Union member states and Qatar now have unlimited and unrestricted access to their respective territories.”
While addressing a keynote on the first day, at the mentioned congregation, Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker said, “While my country may be small in size, we are big in ambition. This is why we have set ourselves the goal of becoming the first country in the Gulf region to achieve a Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement with the European Union.”
He also added, “We expect that this agreement will demonstrate to the world that through positive engagement, we can build trust among nations, overcoming the fear of competition and embracing the benefits of liberalization.”
In the same event, European Commission Director General for Mobility and Transport, Henrik Hololei, acknowledged the move by saying that this deal would ensure fair and open markets.
Baker further revealed that, post closure of this agreement, the European carrier would no longer be obliged to operate flights in Doha through local sales agents only. He also reinstated Qatar’s commitment to “offer fair and friendly business environment.”
Prominent stakeholders of the Qatar Airways have continually denied allegations (from international community) for receiving unfair state subsidies, which gives them an undue advantage over other carriers operating in the region. The EU and Qatar aviation talks started after an agreement signed between the US and Qatar last year to share a detailed financial information about Qatar Airways.