The European Commission (EC) is reviewing a draft proposal that could directly impact GCC carriers operating flights in EU member states.

If implemented, the new law will enable the council to impose duties on non-EU airlines or suspend their flying rights if their operations are found to have harmed European airlines, according to news agency Bloomberg.

The proposed law is targeting to ensure fair competition by tackling unfair business practices by foreign airlines and governments that are not addressable through open skies agreements.

These could include “illegal government subsidies or favourable treatment when it comes to slot allocation, ground handling services, airport charges and refuelling, among others”.

It is understood that the German and French governments, including their respective flag carriers, Lufthansa and Air France KLM, have exerted pressure on the commission to address the challenge posed by the GCC carriers.

In 2015, the US Big Three airlines have accused the major GCC carriers – Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways – of receiving unfair government subsidies.

All three Gulf carriers have strongly denied the US carriers’ allegations.

The US Department of Transport has denied the US carriers’ petition to launch a formal review of the open skies agreements with UAE and Qatar.