Public Service Obligation - European Union

European Union

In the European Union, route PSOs are governed by Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008. They must be offered for tender in the Official Journal of the European Union and be open to any transport operator registered in an EU member state. There are limitations in the number of passengers which can be carried where the route can remain eligible for PSO. The winning tenderer usually receives a monopoly on the route, but may have to conform to one or more conditions of service, such as the type and size of vehicle, the timing of services, the maximum fare paid for a portion or all of the seats offered, membership of a common reservation system, quality of service measured by a maximum percentage of cancelled services, etc.

Examples of air transport PSOs currently in operation in Europe are routes from Dublin to Kerry and Donegal, routes between the Italian mainland and Sardinia, routes between the French mainland and Corsica, certain domestic routes within Norway, Sweden and Finland, and routes to the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

International routes are usually not supported by PSO. This is because of a political principle that people should pay for international travel themselves, not through tax money. This is especially evident in Scandinavia where there is very little international air traffic between cities other than through the capitals, where connections are commercially profitable.

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