EU, Russia Agree End To Siberian Flight Fees

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Published: November 25, 2011

The European Union and Russia have agreed to phase out the fees paid by EU air carriers in order to fly trans-Siberian routes, potentially reducing the cost of flying from Europe to East Asia.

The fees had been a long-standing source of disagreement, and the accord followed a deal struck in October between the EU and Moscow for Russia to join the World Trade Organisation. Russia is now expected to join the 153-member group in December.

“The arrangement abolishes the obligation for EU carriers to enter into commercial agreements with, and pay fees to, Russian air carriers for the use of those routes as from 1 January 2014 at the latest,” the Council of the European Union said in a statement. The Council represents the EU’s 27 national governments.

With their abolition, any charges paid by EU airlines to the Russian authorities will have to be cost-related and transparent and must not lead to discrimination against foreign airlines, the Council said.

The new arrangement will enter into force on January 1 next year, so long as Russia is formally admitted to the WTO next month. It was based on principles initialled by the EU and Russia in 2006, but Russia had only now agreed to implement them, the Council said.

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