EU reports on EX-YU air transport progress

NEWS FLASH


The European Commission (EC) has published its annual progress reports for those aspiring to join the European Union, giving an assessment of what each candidate and potential candidate has achieved over the last year, as well as a set of guidelines on reform priorities. Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo received largely positive reviews from the commission in the field of air transport, which is contained within the chapter on transport policy. Notably, the EC expressed concern over Montenegro Airlines' sustainability and touched upon the upcoming concession of the country's two international airports. Since Bosnia and Herzegovina only recently completed a comprehensive questionnaire covering all EU accession criteria, there is no comprehensive report available on the country's transportation policy at this time.

Macedonia

On air transport, the country has maintained good level of alignment with the acquis and is partially aligned with both aviation safety and security legislation. No progress was made in complying with the requirements of the European Common Aviation Authority Agreement’s first transitional phase. The European Aviation Safety Agency still needs to check that the country is fully aligned with and implement the Single European Sky. Most safety areas, except the ones covered by the recent air traffic management inspection, have not been inspected by the Agency since 2012-2014. The working arrangement with the agency covers all aspects of the acquis in civil aviation safety and environmental protection of products, organisations and personnel. However, further efforts are needed to facilitate the Agency’s standardisation inspections. On combined transport, no progress was made in finalising the relevant national legislation, but there has been some progress setting up of a multimodal node near Skopje.

Montenegro

On aviation, Montenegro has a good level of alignment with the EU acquis under the first transitional phase of the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) and the Single European Sky (SES). However, there are still outstanding issues on economic regulation with the ECAA first transitional phase, which need to be urgently addressed. The Law on legal obligations in air transportation was amended, providing for further alignment with the EU acquis on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and cancellation or long delay of flights. The adoption of several rulebooks in 2018 provided an advanced level of alignment with the EU acquis on aviation safety, air navigation services and air traffic management. Montenegro is applying security standards equivalent to the EU common basic standards on civil aviation security for the purposes of one-stop security with the EU on passengers, baggage, aircraft and cargo. The government plans to offer 25- or 30-year concessions the country’s two main airports in Podgorica and Tivat. The future concessions should comply with the upcoming legislation on public-private partnership and concessions. The national airline company Montenegro Airlines continues to face financial sustainability problems; an option study was conducted in 2018, but no decision on the future of the company was taken yet. The beginning of 2019 saw the adoption of amendments to the national air transport facilitation programme.

Serbia

Serbia has a good level of alignment with the acquis on aviation. It has progressed considerably with implementing the first and part of the second transitional phase of the European Common Aviation Agreement. On the Single European Sky (SES), Serbia completed transposition and local implementation of SES I and SES II on air traffic. Legislation on aviation safety is being further aligned. Lifting the suspension of articles on the licensing of air carriers and engaging on the normalisation of the lower airspace regime over Kosovo remain important priorities.

Kosovo

On aviation, Kosovo has made progress in aligning with the acquis and has met nearly all the requirements under the first transitional phase of the European Common Aviation Area Agreement (ECAA). Action is now needed to implement the few remaining provisions in the area of economic regulation, in particular relating labour law. The lack of revenue from upper air space management constraints Kosovo's ability to invest in training and infrastructure development. The Commission has engaged with Kosovo using the appropriate instruments to enhance understanding of the acquis in the field of aviation security and ensure gradual alignment.

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