Signature of aviation agreement liberalises EU-Moldova traffic
By Isabelle Smets | Wednesday 27 June 2012
The Republic of Moldova and the European Union signed, on 26 June, a comprehensive air services agreement, initialled in October 2011, that gradually opens the parties’ respective markets. The agreement still has to be ratified before officially entering into force, but the EU and Moldova have decided that it will apply provisionally from the date of signature. This means that direct routes between the EU and Moldova are now fully liberalised. All EU airlines may operate direct flights to Moldova from anywhere in the EU without frequency restrictions and vice versa for Moldovan carriers. Earlier bilateral aviation agreements concluded with Moldova were generally fairly restrictive in terms of route approval, frequencies, aircraft capacity and schedules.
In a second stage, which will open once Moldova has implemented the EU’s aviation
acquis, European airlines will be able to pick up or drop off passengers in Moldova flying to or from a third state (and vice versa in the EU for Moldova). This will enable European airlines to serve destinations outside Moldova (and Moldovan carriers to make stopovers in the EU). Both parties’ airlines will be able to make stopovers in neighbouring Mediterranean and Central and Eastern European countries. These rights will be guaranteed for both passenger and freight traffic. The right of cabotage – ie to operate domestic connections – was not considered necessary given Moldova’s surface area (33,000 km²).