The European Court Closed Open Skies

For discrimination and violation of free competition

The developed countries of the West are proud of their so-called  open society.  The West is proud of that by right, the Western  society  is the place of fair laws and  free market competition. However, as it turns out, it is nothing but an attractive slogan  for the rest of the world sometimes. The Western countries compete with each other “freely,” but they  make it so only for themselves, leaving nothing for the countries, which are not a part of the open society.

However, the structure of the society, which was built in the Western world,  is rather strong.  The latest decision of the European Court, the supreme court body  of the European Union, is  a very bright example to show this.

The European Court  ruled yesterday that the bilateral “open skies” air traffic agreement that was signed by the USA and eight European countries was  illegal.  This was said by Bloomberg.

It took the court four years to make the final decision on the case.  Back in 1998, the European Committee  filed a lawsuit at the European Court  against Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxemburg, Sweden and Great Britain.   We have to say that all those agreements were more advantageous to the USA than to Europe. For instance, American airlines could fly to the European Union  from any part of the United States. However, a European airline could fly to the USA only from its own territory, not from any other European country.

Furthermore, European flag carriers  were not entitled to carry passengers  in the USA. Yet, eight European countries had  very good advantages vs. the rest of the world too.

Looking deep into the matter,  the European Court ruled the mentioned “open skies” agreements  were discriminating towards the flag carriers  of other countries of the European Union. The court also believed that the document  violated European  free commerce rights.

The European Union itself was very happy to know about the binding outcome of the case.  The court’s decision  is final, it can not be appealed. Europe now hopes that there will be more incentive given to the competition on the EU air traffic market. The American home market  has become more accessible for European airlines as well. Until recently,  there was no foreign company allowed to operate there. British Airways, for example,  will now fly to New York  from Amsterdam easily. Lufthansa  will be able to  fly to Washington from Brussels. It is now left to “break” the all-round defense of American flag carriers.  They are not doing fine now anyway.

Kira Poznakhirko

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name Olga Savka