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December 4, 2010

Georgia to Integrate with EU Aviation Standards, Ending Flight Restrictions and Opening New Routes

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Written by: BNO News
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The European Union (EU) and Georgia on Friday announced an air transport agreement to integrate the western country into the European common aviation market.

The comprehensive air services agreement was signed on Thursday in the margins of the EU Transport Council. The deal will open up and integrate the respective markets, strengthen cooperation and offer new opportunities for consumers and operators.

“The comprehensive air services agreement is very important for further strengthening the overall economic, trade and tourism relations between Georgia and the EU,” said Siim Kallas, European Commissioner for Transport. “The agreement will allow Georgia to become a full partner of the EU in aviation and gradually integrate Georgia into a wider pan-European aviation market.”

As a result of the agreement, Georgia will be integrated in to the European Common Aviation Area. This will allow all EU airlines to provide direct flights to and from Georgia and vice versa for Georgian airlines. The current restrictions on prices and number of weekly flights between Georgia and EU will be eliminated.

In addition, Georgia will implement EU aviation rules in areas such as aviation safety, security, environment, consumer protection, air traffic management, economic regulation, competition issues and social aspects.

Over the last five years, air traffic between the EU and Georgia has increased an average 10 percent per year whilst cargo traffic has increased by an annual average of no less that 26 percent in the same period.

Georgia currently has direct flight connections with nine EU Member States: Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Poland.

The European Union is seeking a closer integration with neighboring countries. The body has reached similar agreements with the Western Balkan countries and with the African country Morocco.

A similar agreement with Jordan is expected to be finalized later this month. The EU is currently negotiating deals of this type with Ukraine, Israel and Lebanon. Moldova has also expressed an interest in negotiating an air transport agreement with the EU.



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