New Delhi: Government today said it has approved an agreement with the European Union to bring all 26 bilateral air services agreements with member nations in conformity with legal requirement.
“The new arrangement will bring all the existing bilateral air services agreements between EU member states and India in line with the European Commission law at one go, thereby obviating any threat of legal challenge,” Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here today.
The Union Cabinet gave an ex-post facto approval last night to the Horizontal Aviation Agreement, signed in Marseilles on 28 September during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visit to France at the India-EU Summit, he said.
The landmark pact on civil aviation would work like an ‘open skies´ agreement, encouraging more airlines to offer services between the continents.
Nearly 5.7 million passengers travelled between India and the EU in 2007, with India ranking 11th in terms of passenger traffic between the EU and non-EU countries. Over the past three years, passenger traffic on this sector has grown by 75%.
The liberal aviation deal ends nearly six years of legal uncertainty, which began when the European Court in November 2002 decided that bilateral deals on civil aviation services between EU member states and third countries discriminated against airlines from other EU states.