Europe’s Take on Interlining—II: (Member) State Sovereignty and the ‘Non Imperial Empire’

A voluntary commercial agreement between individual airlines to handle passengers traveling on itineraries that require multiple airlines is known as interlining. The International Air Transport Association's tariff conference and interlining system no longer is exempted from full application of European Union (EU) competition law as of late 2007. This article explores the legal ramifications of the EU's new stance for Member states and third states. Part 1 of this article, which appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of this journal, surveyed the bilateral framework of fare regulation that dominates international air transport, as well as the European Commission's case against extending the interlining system's exemption. Together with the fact that the great majority of bilateral agreements in one way or another require or endorse collusive behavior by airlines, withdrawing exemptions may lead to conflicts of obligations and risks the overzealous extraterritorial application of EU rules. Part II of this article surveys several approaches to these issues. First, it explores how recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) case law has significantly reduced the protection EU law awards to legitimate third state interests. The last section of this article discusses how the parties concerned may set about the almost inevitable task of renegotiating of tariff clauses. The examination of EU external relations doctrines and ECJ case law suggest that both EU member states and third states may have to face the reality that, as a consequence of unilaterally regulating third States' commitments, the Commission may have acquired exclusive competence to renegotiate tariff clauses.


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  • Accession Number: 01147930
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 7 2010 9:17PM