The Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (CATA) signed between European Union and Qatar "creates strong foundations for a long-term relationship promoting fair and free trade, high standards and a single set of rules and values," said European Commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement concluded between the two sides in Brussels on Monday.
The agreement is the first of its kind between the European Union and a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member state, providing a “significant competitive edge” to air carriers of both sides and a sustainable framework for the launch of future passenger and cargo operations in the few remaining restricted markets in Europe.
European Commissioner (Transport) Violeta Bulc said, “We delivered! Qatar was the first partner with whom we launched negotiations following our adoption of the Aviation Strategy for Europe…. now it is also the first one to cross the finish line! More than that, the agreement sets out ambitious standards for fair competition, transparency or social issues. It will provide a level playing field and raise the bar globally for air transport agreements. This is a major upgrade compared to the existing framework, and our joint contribution to making aviation more sustainable.”
The conclusion of the Qatar-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement was initially announced during the CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit held in Doha last month.
The agreement was signed by the president of Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA), Abdulla bin Nasser Turki al-Subaey, and the head of Unit, International Transport Affairs at the European Union Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, Carlos Bermejo-Acosta.
Among the dignitaries present were HE the Minister of Transport and Communications, Jassim Saif Ahmed al-Sulaiti, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, HE Akbar al-Baker, and Qatar’s ambassador to Belgium, Abdulrahman bin Mohamed al-Khulaifi.
From the European side, the ceremony was attended by Katainen and head, Cabinet for European Commissioner for Transport Matej Zakonjsek.
Member States represented by their respective civil aviation authorities, who were party to the negotiations, included major European airlines, key aviation industry associations and specialised agencies, including the Airports Council International.
Al-Sulaiti said, “This agreement, which reflects the EU’s trust in Qatar’s potentials, will allow for the liberalisation of the fundamental mobility rights between Qatar and EU markets - one of the oldest and largest in the world in the realm of air transport. This will contribute to increasing the mobility, tourism and trade exchange between Doha and EU capital cities, widening the partnership with EU countries and developing our national carrier’s network, thus supporting economic growth across all sectors.
Al-Baker said, “This historic landmark agreement will open doors to a host of new opportunities for airlines in Europe and Qatar, ensuring fair access to markets. The negotiations have proven how positive engagement can build trust among nations. Our hope is that the proven success of these negotiations will encourage other trading blocs and significant aviation markets to join in helping to achieve a liberalised global aviation regime for future generations”.