The European Union today concluded negotiations with Tunisia for a far reaching aviation agreement. It will improve market access for airlines and provide better connectivity, more choice as well as lower fares for travellers. This new agreement is expected to bring an additional 800,000 passengers over a 5 year period. More flights also mean more jobs and more wealth for all partners. It is estimated that the agreement could generate 2.7% GDP growth from travel and tourism, and increase annual traffic by up to 13% per year.
Speaking in Tunis, Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said, "Today we are not only delivering on the EU's aviation strategy, we are also taking our relations with Tunisia to new heights. This far reaching aviation agreement will improve market access, and contribute to the highest safety, security and environmental standards. This is great news for tourism, passengers and businesses!"
Besides market access, these agreements will establish a common regulatory framework, for instance in the fields of aviation safety and security. This agreement was negotiated by the European Commission as part of its Aviation Strategy for Europe, a milestone initiative to give a new boost to European aviation and provide new business opportunities.
After the initialling of the agreement, both parties agreed to move to signature as soon as possible and following their respective internal procedures.
Under its Aviation Strategy for Europe,
the European Commission is currently negotiating new aviation agreements with the Association of Southeast Asian Nationals (ASEAN), Qatar, Tunisia and Turkey. Once signed, over 75% of all passengers flying in and out of the EU, or more than 240 million passengers per year, would be covered by EU-level aviation agreements. In addition the EU has already negotiated with partners like the US, Canada, Morocco, Jordan, the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Israel, Georgia, Moldova and Switzerland which have already brought significant benefits. For instance, passenger numbers have doubled with partners such as the Western Balkans, Morocco, and Georgia.
Aviation is crucial for the European Union. It creates jobs, drives economic growth facilitates trade and allows people to travel. European aviation represents 26% of the world market, contributing €510 billion annually to Europe's Gross Domestic Product, and supporting 9.3 million jobs in Europe. In 2015, over 1.45 billion passengers departed or arrived at EU airports.