EU Court Strikes Down German Foreign Charter Provision

 - April 24, 2014, 2:45 PM

After a five-year legal debate, Austrian aviation services provider International Jet Management (IJM) has prevailed against German authorities in a “precedent-setting ruling” by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

At issue was a German protectionist regulation that forced foreign operators of flights inbound from a non-EU country to apply for permission three days in advance, as well as provide proof that no Germany-based competitor would make that flight. Without such evidence, which often could not be gathered in the time allotted, the authorities would impose fines against the operator if the flight were conducted.

In 2009 IJM launched a protest against the penalties, and in 2011 the High Regional Court of Braunschweig referred the case to the ECJ, the highest court in the European Union in matters of EU law, for a preliminary ruling. Last month, the court ruled that EU law supersedes the German regulations requiring authorization for an established business in another member state to provide services in Germany; therefore, the fines imposed on IJM and others were not justified under its interpretation of EU treaty article 18, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of nationality.