EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Exemption of certain air transport agreements from EU competition rules

Exemption of certain air transport agreements from EU competition rules

This regulation empowers the Commission to grant block exemptions in the air transport sector with regard to traffic within the European Union (EU) as well as with regard to traffic between the EU and non-EU countries. It lays down the specific conditions and in what circumstances the Commission may exercise this power alongside the EU countries’ national competition authorities.


Council Regulation (EC) No 487/2009 of 25 May 2009 on the application of Article 81(3) of the Treaty to certain categories of agreements and concerted practices in the air transport sector.


In accordance with Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (ex-Article 81(3) of the Treaty Establishing the European Community (TEC)), the Commission may adopt a regulation declaring that certain agreements, decisions and concerted practices are exempt from the prohibition in Article 101(1) TFEU (ex-Article 81(1) TEC).

The Commission may, in particular, adopt such a block exemption regulation in relation to agreements, decisions or concerted practices which concern any of the following:

  • joint planning and coordination of airline schedules;
  • consultations on tariffs for the carriage of passengers and baggage and of freight on scheduled air services;
  • joint operations on new less busy scheduled air services;
  • slot allocation at airports and airport scheduling;
  • common purchase, development and operation of computer reservation systems relating to timetabling, reservations and ticketing by air transport undertakings.

Where circumstances have changed concerning any of the factors which prompted its adoption, it may be repealed or amended. In this case there shall be a transitional period for amendment of the agreements and concerted practices to which the earlier regulation applied before repeal or amendment.

Any such block exemption regulation is adopted for a specified period and will apply retroactively to agreements, decisions and concerted practices which were in existence on the date that the regulation entered into force.

Before adopting such a block exemption regulation, the Commission must publish a draft of the proposed regulation and invite all persons and organisations concerned to submit their comments within a reasonable deadline. The Commission must consult the Advisory Committee on Restrictive Practices and Dominant Positions in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1/2003, once before publishing a draft regulation, and again after the public consultation before adopting the regulation.

This regulation repeals Regulation (EEC) No 3976/87.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 487/2009



OJ L 148 of 11.6.2009

Last updated: 07.03.2011