Qatar and the European Commission (EC) agreed to finalise the specific terms of the open skies agreement between the Gulf state and the European Union (EU) member states in subsequent phases of the ongoing negotiations.

The initial round of talks took place in Doha on 19 to 21 September.

The negotiations aim to reach a comprehensive air transport agreement to regulate air services and the rights of transport between the Gulf state and the European Union (EU) countries.

Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) Chairman Abdulla bin Nasser Turki al-Subaey and Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker represented the Qatari government while the head of the international transport affairs, Carlos Acosta, represented the European Commission.

Qatar already has a provisional open skies agreement with the US. Qatar Airways currently flies to 10 US destinations.

The open skies agreeemnt with the US was threatened to be reviewed when the US Big Three – American, Delta and United – filed an open skies dispute with the US State Department in January 2015 against Qatar Airways, along with Dubai’s Emirates Airline and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways. The US Big Three alleged the Gulf carriersreceived unfair subsidies worth $42bn from their home governments over a 10-year period. The three Gulf airlines strongly denied the allegations and presented their counter arguments with the US Transport Department around mid-2015.

In July, the dispute concluded with the US government ruling out the need to hold formal consultations with the UAE and Qatar.