Skip to main content
Mobility and Transport
News article8 December 2017Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport2 min read

Aviation Strategy for Europe: Commission strengthens aviation ties with China

The European Commission and China have today agreed to strengthen their aviation cooperation by concluding negotiations for two agreements aiming to facilitate market access and boost the competitiveness of the EU's aeronautical sector. This marks yet another key deliverable under the Commission's Aviation Strategy for Europe, whose top priority is to ensure the EU taps into growth markets.

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "China is a key aviation partner for the EU, and deepening our ties is a priority under our Aviation Strategy. Today's agreements will allow for more flights between the two regions, boost the EU's trade in aircraft and related products, and ensure the highest levels of air safety."

The first agreement is a Bilateral Civil Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA), whose main objective is to support worldwide trade in aircraft and related products. This agreement will remove the unnecessary duplication of evaluation and certification activities for aeronautical products by the Civil Aviation Authorities, and therefore reduce costs for the aviation sector. The BASA will also promote cooperation between the EU and China towards a high level of civil aviation safety and environmental compatibility. The initialling of the BASA will also help to advance ongoing certification procedures for European aviation products in China.

The second agreement initialled today is a so-called Horizontal Aviation Agreement. It marks China's recognition of the principle of EU designation, whereby all EU airlines will be able to fly to China from any EU Member State with a bilateral air services agreement with China. Up until now, only airlines owned and controlled by a given Member State or its nationals could fly between that Member State and China. The conclusion of a Horizontal Agreement will also bring bilateral air services agreements between China and EU Member States into conformity with EU law - a renewed legal certainty which will be beneficial to airlines on both sides.

Next steps

Both parties will proceed with signature of the agreements as soon as possible and following their respective internal procedures.

Background information

The agreements have been initialled in Brussels today by representatives of the European Commission and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

Aviation is one of the EU’s key high-tech sectors on the global market. It provides more than 360,000 jobs and generated a turnover of close to €150 billion in 2015. Concluding bilateral aviation safety agreements further supports the competitiveness of the EU industry and job creation in this sector. These agreements significantly reduce the transaction cost of exporting aircraft, while ensuring high levels of safety in partner countries and helping to harmonise product standards worldwide. The European Union has already concluded such agreements with key aeronautical partners, such as the United States, Brazil, and Canada.

For more information

An Aviation Strategy for Europe


Publication date
8 December 2017
Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport