26 May 2020

New temporary amendment approved by the European Council on air services

The Council has approved a temporary amendment to the rules on air services to support airlines and airports in the face of the sharp drop in air traffic due to the COVID-19. The Council also adopted an extension of the deadline for transposition of the fourth railway package's rail safety and interoperability directives to give the railway industry and authorities flexibility and legal certainty in the current circumstances.

The pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on the aviation sector, this crisis could lead to insolvencies and threaten millions of jobs. The measures adopted today will help to avoid unnecessary administrative burdens for Member States and to mitigate the impact on the sector during the crisis. The extension of the transposition deadline will give the railway sector and the authorities room for manoeuvre to deal with these difficult circumstances.

These new temporary rules on ground handling services will help airports to continue operating in the event of bankruptcy of a ground handling company by introducing a direct procedure for the selection of service providers. They will also help airports to avoid complex tenders by allowing the extension of contracts until 2022.

On the other hand, the deadline for transposition of the Railway Safety and Interoperability Directives of the fourth railway package will be extended to 31 October 2020. This extension will provide the railway sector and the authorities legal certainty and flexibility to deal with the extraordinary circumstances.

The legislative acts will enter into force the day after their publication on 27 May 2020.

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