The government of Qatar and the European Union have signed a first of its kind, air transport agreement setting the stage for a more liberalised passenger and cargo environment.
The agreement included the initialing of a Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (CATA) in Brussels and the signing of a Memorandum of Consultations (MoC), which the two parties say will “open a new era of stronger cooperation and connectivity.”
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.”
As part of this agreement, the State of Qatar and the European Union have taken major steps by agreeing to articles on fair competition, environment, consumer protection, social issues and transparency. The agreement offers an enhanced friendly business environment to European Union air carriers and a wide range of exemptions and flexibility while doing business in the State of Qatar.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, says: “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”.
The agreement also comes at a time the blockade against Qatar by neighbouring Middle East countries led by Saudi Arabia has entered its second year.