China's civil aviation regulator signed two landmark aviation agreements with the European Union on Monday to boost their cooperation and competitiveness in the aeronautical sector and enhance overall EU-China aviation relations.
The agreements, which follow last month's EU-China Summit, are the first time that China and the EU have reached such a deal in the civil aviation sector, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said in a news release.
The two agreements are the Agreement on Civil Aviation Safety Between China and the European Union and the Agreement Between China and the EU on Certain Aspects of Air Services.
The bilateral civil aviation safety agreement establishes a legal framework for cooperation in civil aviation safety, including airworthiness certification, air traffic control services, and personnel licensing and training, according to the administration.
The agreement will facilitate cooperation in the evaluation and certification of aeronautical products, which industry observers said would remove unnecessary duplication and reduce costs in the aviation sector.
The air services agreement makes it easier for airlines from China and the EU to fly to and from China and the EU's 28 member states.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said, "We took a first big step in this direction by signing two aviation agreements with China that will create jobs, boost growth and bring our continents and peoples closer together."
The current world situation is increasingly volatile, and the EU-China partnership is more important than ever. The EU firmly believes that if all countries unite, the world will become stronger, safer and more prosperous, he said in a statement.
Wang Yanan, editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said that although the bilateral civil aviation safety agreement is so far only a framework and further talks are required to flesh out its details, it represents strengthened aviation cooperation between the two sides.
"Once the details are finalized, China and the EU will fully recognize each other's civil aviation products, which will boost trade in aircraft and related products between China and the EU," he said.
"China's domestic aircraft will be able to enter the EU market after receiving air airworthiness certificates from the administration, and this will also be the case for Airbus aircraft."
By the end of January, the in-service Airbus aircraft with Chinese operators reached 1,730 among the total of 3,639 passenger and freight aircraft in China, according to the company.
Zhang Ming, head of China's mission to the EU, also attended the ceremony. He said in a statement that both China and the EU advocate multilateralism and building an open global economy, and both are open to cooperation. Strengthening cooperation in the civil aviation sector serves as a strong example of this.