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2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 330 E/23

In conformity with the above, the Greek and Italian legislation require the captain and the first officer of a
vessel flying their national flag to be Greek or Italian respectively. The Commission can also confirm that
both Member States require that the rest of the crew be Community nationals and not Greek or Italian
nationals and this condition is also compatible with Community law.

(2000/C 330 E/024) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2572/99

by Markus Ferber (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(11 January 2000)

Subject: Air fares in the EU

Air fares within the EU vary alarmingly. Domestic flights are significantly cheaper than comparable flights
to neighbouring countries of the Union.

Lufthansa, for instance, quotes the following fares:

 Munich-Frankfurt, 1 hour, DM 299,

 Munich-Düsseldorf, 1 hour 5 minutes, DM 448,

 Munich-Vienna, 1 hour, DM 527,

 Munich-Paris, 1 hour 10 minutes, DM 763.

Since these airports are served by various other carriers, it cannot be a case of differing market prices.
Airport charges cannot be so very different either.

How can the price differences between domestic flights and comparable flights to other EU countries be
explained? What is the European Commission doing to bring about an internal market in air transport?

Answer given by Ms de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(2 March 2000)

Since the entry into force on 1 January 1993 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2409/92 of 23 July 1992 on
fares and rates for air services (1), airfares within the Community have been completely liberalised. Prices
are therefore determined by market forces. The differences in price between domestic flights and other
intra-Community flights are gradually diminishing with the arrival on the market of new carriers with low
operating costs. The remaining differences are mainly due to distance and volume of traffic. Generally, the
operating costs of a route per passenger drop as the volume of traffic increases. Routes with heavy traffic
also attract more competition. Domestic routes often have more traffic than other intra-Community routes.

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2409/92 provides for the possibility of withdrawing a basic fare when it is
excessively high in relation to the long-term fully allocated relevant costs of the air carrier. It is for the
Member States to apply this safeguard clause where necessary. As guardian of the Treaties, the
Commission is monitoring the implementation by the Member States of the last liberalisation package in
the air transport sector which entered into force on 1 January 1993. It has already had to adopt several
decisions regarding the granting of Community carrier licenses and, in particular, access to the market. The
Commission is also monitoring the application of Community competition rules in the air transport sector,
to prevent the creation of anti-competitive structures and to oppose agreements and practices by carriers
which could restrict or eliminate competition.

(1) OJ L 240, 24.8.1992.