September 8, 2008

EU Lifts Restrictions on Bulgarian Airlines

Text of report in English by Bulgarian national news agency BTA

Sofia, September 8 (BTA) - The College of the European Commission completed work on a procedure for removing the safeguard clause on Bulgarian aviation at noon on Monday [ 8 September], making Bulgarian air carriers equal partners in the EU internal market, said the Sofia representation of the European Commission.

The decision revokes Commission Regulation 1962/2006 on the imposition of the safeguard clause and will be published in the official gazette of the EU.

EC checks in Bulgaria have found that failures which had been identified in the past and which prompted the imposition of the safeguard clause, have been dealt with, says the Commission representation. It adds that the improvements resulted from significant investments by the air companies and improved qualification of the aviation staff.

The safeguard clause for Bulgarian aviation was invoked on 20 December 2006 - just days ahead of this country's accession to the EU, over Bulgaria's inability to ensure full compliance with the Community rules on aviation safety and on the internal aviation market. And while it did not deny access of Bulgarian carriers to Community territory, the safeguard clause partially excluded them from the benefit of the internal aviation market.

The decision was based on inspections by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) which identified a number of deficiencies, including what was described as "important shortcomings in the administrative capacity of the Bulgarian Civil Aviation Authorities in the field of safety oversight in general, and for the certification of airworthiness and maintenance of aircraft."

Originally published by BTA news agency, Sofia, in English 1213 8 Sep 08.

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