European transport ministers have agreed on proposals to support competitiveness and sustainability in the mobility sector, including one aimed at safeguarding competition within air transport, paving the way for negotiations with the European Parliament.

Major European airlines have for years been calling for changes in legislation to redress the balance, in particular with their Middle Eastern counterparts, which they say have an unfair advantage because they receive illegal subsidies from their national governments, a claim those carriers deny.

Transport commissioner Violeta Bulc said: “We have reached an agreement within the Council on three important files, and I am confident that we can complete their adoption by the end of the year.”

Ministers agreed on new rules aiming to safeguard competition in air transport, the flagship initiative of the “Open and Connected Aviation” measures tabled by the Commission a year ago as part of its Aviation Strategy.

The move will allow the European Union to take “appropriate action,” should European airlines be subject to unfair practices affecting competition with third country carriers.

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk