Select Committee on European Communities Thirty Second Report

Letter from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

  Thank you for giving us the opportunity to comment on the Commission proposals to extend powers to apply to existing competition provisions to aviation services between the European Community and third countries (8582/97 (Com(97) 218)).

  Instead of answering the detailed questions of the Sub-Committee we would rather like to give you some general comments.

  Over the years the European Commission Directorate-General IV-Competition has tried to obtain the competence to deal directly under the Articles 85 and 86 of the EC Treaty with competition issues in relation to third countries.

  KLM is very much in favour of arranging aeropolitical relations with third countries at a Community level. However, in our opinion, such arrangements could only be based on EU aviation policy formulated by the Council under Article 84 of the Treaty.

  The application of competition law to such external relations is only part of the total regulatory regime that would be created after successful Community negotiations with third countries.

  Consequently, we feel that extension of the Commission's power to apply EU competition law to external aviation relations should only be created in conjunction with an overall EU external aviation policy and not in isolation.

R C van der Maaten

Vice President Public Affairs

19 June 1998

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