Air Transport World

Seeping liberalization; charter carrier Transwede flies over falling EC/Scandinavia barriers into scheduled service. (Transwede Airways, European Community)

Charter carrier Transwede flies over falling EC/Scandinavia barriers into scheduled service.

STOCKHOLM-Transwede Airways' daily scheduled flight between Arlanda Airport here and London Gatwick is an indication that European Community (EC) aviation liberalization is gradually seeping into Sweden and its neighbor Norway, even though neither country is a member of the EC.

Both are members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), with Finland, Switzerland, Austria and Iceland, and are expected to apply for full EC membership some time during the current decade. In anticipation of that time, Sweden and Norway recently negotiated what is called an association agreement with the EC, effectively giving them membership status in aviation matters as of next january. Twelve months after that date, trade frontiers are due to be lowered within the EC countries, giving their airlines, plus those of Sweden and Norway, the right to fly where they like and to charge whatever fares they wish.

The other four members of EFTA still are negotiating associate membership in aviation with the EC. According to close observers, prospects for early success are not bright.

To complicate an already-complicated scene even further, Scandinavian Airlines System, jointly owned by Sweden, Norway and Denmark -the latter country being a full member of the EC-already is considered an EC airline. The three main Scandinavian countries traditionaly speak with a single voice on aviation and have identical bilateral agreements with third countries. joint part-ownership of SAS has resulted in the three governments' having a series of cooperation agreements, the first of which was signed as long ago as 1951. Domestically, each country is formally independent but in reality, all issues of nnportance, such as designation of fares and subsidies, are subject to informal acceptance by the other two states. …

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