Traffic between the EU and China has doubled in the last 10 years. With an annual growth rate of 6.7%, China is the 10th largest EU partner in terms of shared passengers.

Europe And China Sign Cooperative Airworthiness Agreement

EU, China agree sign bilateral aviation safety agreement to work toward harmonizing standards and procedures.

Printed headline: Aviation Cooperation


The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and the European Union (EU) signed a bilateral civil aviation safety agreement in May, paving the way for cooperation in various arenas, including airworthiness.

The first of its kind between the two entities, the 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.” It has been in the works since signature of a 2013 letter of intent and subsequent development of the EU-China Aviation Partnership Project, establishing road maps and assessments to validate future certification processes. Technical implementation procedures to facilitate acceptance of each other’s airworthiness approvals are already in development.


The partnership—which will encompass operations, air traffic control, personnel licensing, personnel training and flight operations—is a key objective of the EU’s aviation strategy.

Recognizing the anticipated shift of economic growth toward Asia, the plan specifically calls for ongoing negotiations with China and Japan.

The EU strategy is based on data identifying the Asia-Pacific region as the fastest-growing on Earth. According to Airbus’ Global Market Forecast, it is expected to account for 40% of world air traffic by 2034.

As part of the deal, the nations also brokered a “horizontal aviation agreement” facilitating the single aviation market established in Europe. Under the system, any EU airline established in the territory of any EU member state may apply for available traffic rights.

Before the horizontal agreement was signed, only airlines owned and controlled by a given member state or its nationals could fly between that member state and China. The new agreement brings the EU-China arrangement in line with EU law.

The deal’s proponents estimate that the accord will create €3.5 billion ($4 billion) in economic benefits and 11,000 jobs in its first eight years. It now goes to the European Commission and the Chinese transport administration for formal adoption.

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