EU and Qatar negotiate "historic" air services agreement

A “comprehensive air services agreement” has been negotiated between the European Union and Qatar following talks in Doha.

The European Union (EU) and Qatar have finalised negotiations for a “comprehensive air services agreement” designed to increase competition and transparency.

The draft deal was agreed during the CAPA 2019 Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical & Regulatory Summit, which is taking place in Doha.

It will give air carriers from the 28 EU member states and the Gulf nation “unlimited and unrestricted” access to their respective territories.

“We are very pleased to have concluded our negotiations with the State of Qatar here in Doha today,” said Henrik Hololei, the European Commission’s director general for general mobility and transport.

“Thanks to the strong commitment of all parties, we have managed to reconcile our differences and found common ground through honest engagement and open dialogue.”

Qatar Airways’ chief executive Akbar Al Baker (pictured) stressed that the agreement would allow both sides to “embrace the benefits of competition”.

“Our hope is that the success of these negotiations will encourage other trading blocs and significant aviation markets to join in achieving a liberalised global aviation regime for future generations,” he said.

“The agreement will offer a common platform for airlines in Europe and Qatar to understand each other better, creating new opportunities for collaboration and cooperation.

“We approach the principle of fair competition very simply: fair access to markets, competing for market share based on products and services of what the customer wants and is willing to purchase.”

As part of the agreement Qatar will no longer force European carriers to have a local sales agent in order to operate flights to Doha.

The draft agreement will now be formalised before being approved by the individual nations which make up the EU.

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