The Aviation Law Review: France


i Access to the market

According to European Union law, any Community air carrier may freely set fares and rates for the carriage of passengers and cargo and may access any route within the European Union without permit or authorisation if it has an air operator's certificate and an operating licence.2

Moreover, to operate a civil aerodrome that receives commercial traffic, it is necessary to have an airport safety certificate for that aerodrome from the Minister responsible for civil aviation.3

Finally, the construction of an aerodrome intended for public air traffic, when it does not belong to the state, is subject to the conclusion of an agreement between the Minister in charge of civil aviation and the natural person or legal entity that builds the aerodrome.4

ii Regulation of slots

Council Regulation (EEC) No. 95/93 of 18 January 1993, as amended, lays down in Article 8 the procedure for the allocation of slots. The available slots constitute a pool from which the coordinator draws to satisfy air carriers requests for a given scheduling period. At the end of this period the slots are returned to the pool.

A carrier that has operated a slot approved by the coordinator may apply for the same slot in the next corresponding scheduling period. However, when all requests for slots made by carriers cannot be accommodated, the coordinator informs the requesting air carrier of the reasons and indicates the nearest alternative slot.5

For the period during which air transport is negatively affected by the covid-19 crisis, air carriers that fail to use their slots in accordance with the slot utilisation rate set out in Council Regulation (EEC) No. 95/93 should not automatically lose their precedence.6

Slots at congested airports must be allocated to air carriers on a neutral, non-discriminatory and transparent basis by an independent slot coordinator.7 In France, the association in charge of slot allocation is called the Cohor; it brings together most air carriers and the most important airports.8

iii Treaty-based commitment regarding transit and traffic rights

Pursuant to European harmonisation, European air carriers can operate flights within the European Union without prior authorisation. However, other scheduled and unscheduled flights from or to France still require a prior authorisation.

Non-scheduled and scheduled air services from and to France are regulated by bilateral conventions, by Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008 of 24 September 2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community and by the Civil Aviation Code.

iv Interest in aircraft equipment

Any aircraft listed in the French Register can be subject to a contractual mortgage.9 The mortgage must be in writing, and the deed of incorporation may be authenticated or signed privately. Finally, every mortgage shall be entered in the Register.10

v Government policy and state aid

According to the guidelines published on 4 April 2014 by the European Commission on state aid to airports and air carriers, public subsidies must comply with Articles 107 et seq. of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). An aid measure is considered compatible with the internal market provided that the following cumulative conditions are met:

  1. a contribution to a well-defined objective of common interest;
  2. a need for state intervention;
  3. the appropriateness of the aid measure;
  4. incentive effect: the aid must change the behaviour of the undertakings concerned in such a way that they engage in additional activity that they would not carry out without the aid, or they would carry out in a restricted or different manner or location;
  5. the proportionality of the aid (aid limited to the minimum);
  6. the avoidance of undue negative effects on competition and trade between Member States; and
  7. transparency of the aid.

The Commission has adopted a temporary framework to enable Member States to use the full flexibility foreseen under state aid rules to support the economy in the context of the covid-19 outbreak. The temporary framework, as amended on 3 April, 8 May, 29 June and 13 October 2020, and 28 January 2021, provides for some types of aid, including the recapitalisation of airlines, which can be granted by Member States.11

vi Labour and employment issues

Labour and employment issues are governed by the Labour Code and relevant collective agreements.

In the particular context of covid-19 crisis, Decree No. 2020-435 of 16 April 2020, as amended, on emergency measures for partial activity has been adopted.

In order to try and fight some abuse in respect of some favourable provisions of the European-Posted Workers Regulation, Article R330-2 of the Civil Aviation Code provides that French employment law applies as long as an activity is carried out on a stable and continuous basis in France.

vii Civil aviation regulatory regime

Civil aviation is subject to the Civil Aviation Code and the Transports Code. It is also subject to several international conventions (e.g., the Warsaw Convention of 1929, the Montreal Convention of 1999 and the Chicago Convention of 1944) and professional sources (in particular, the general conditions of carriage of the International Air Transport Association) and European sources, via numerous regulations. EU regulations apply concurrently with national provisions, as they are directly applicable to domestic law pursuant to Article 288 of the TFEU.

viii The regulators and their powers

Air transport is a highly regulated activity. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is responsible for ensuring safety and environmental protection in air transport in Europe.

In France, the industry is regulated by the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA), attached to the Ministry of Sustainable and Ecological Transition. The mission of the DGCA is to guarantee the safety and security of air transport. It deals with all areas of civil aviation, inter alia, sustainable development, safety, security, air traffic control, economic regulation, support for aircraft construction, general aviation and aeronautical training12

Finally, the Transport Regulatory Authority regulates aerodromes whose annual traffic exceeded 5 million passengers in any of the previous five calendar years.13 The Transport Regulatory Authority approves the tariffs of charges for airport public services rendered at aerodromes open to public air traffic, and their modulations.14

Legal framework for liability

i International carriage

France, in addition to applying EU regulations, is part of several international conventions related to carrier liability:

  1. the Warsaw Convention: signed and ratified on 15 November 1932 and entered into force on 13 February 1933;
  2. the Hague Protocol of the Warsaw Convention: ratified on 19 May 1959 and entered into force on 1 August 1963;
  3. the Guadalajara Supplementary Convention: ratified on 24 January 1964;
  4. the Guatemala City Protocol: signed and ratified on 8 March 1971;
  5. the Tokyo Convention: ratified on 10 September 1970 and applicable since 10 December 1970;
  6. Protocols 1 and 2 of the Montreal Convention: ratified on 11 February 1982;
  7. the Montreal Convention of 28 May 1999; entered into force on 28 June 2004;
  8. the Beijing Convention on the suppression of unlawful acts relating to international civil aviation: entered into force on 1 July 2018; and
  9. other conventions signed by France but not ratified, such as the Rome Convention of 7 October 1952.

In February 2021, France ratified the Montreal Protocol of 4 April 2014, which complements the Tokyo Convention to provide airlines with the means to more effectively respond to disruptive passenger behaviour.

Once they have been duly ratified and published, the conventions are directly applicable in France and are directly referred to in the Civil Aviation Code and Transports Code. However, references to international conventions still leave room for national law. This is particularly the case with the concepts of inexcusable fault and fraud, which are contemplated by international conventions and then clarified and defined in the Transports Code.15

ii Internal and other non-convention carriage

Internal carriage is subject in priority to the national rules of French law, which refer to the liability rules of the Montreal or Warsaw International Conventions.

The legislative provisions of French law relating to the contract of carriage of persons and goods are contained in the Transports Code.16 They apply to both onerous and gratuitous carriage, disregarding the status of the carrier. Their application requires the existence of a real contract of carriage.

Regarding onerous carriage of passengers, the Transports Code refers to the liability regime provided for by Regulation (EC) No. 889/2002 and the Montreal Convention where the carriage is performed by a professional carrier holding an operating licence,17 and to the liability regime as provided for in the Warsaw Convention (as amended by the Hague Convention) when the carriage is performed by a carrier who does not hold an operating licence.18

A special case is reserved for transport carried out for free by a non-professional air transport operator. By derogation from the principle of Article 17 of the Warsaw Convention, the person who assumes the status of carrier may only be liable if it is established that the damage is due to a fault on his or her part.19

With respect to the carriage of goods, the Transports Code refers, without distinction as to the status of the carrier, to the liability regime set out in the Warsaw Convention, as amended by the Hague Convention.20

iii General aviation regulation

The Civil Aviation Code and the Transports Code both regulate general aviation. The Civil Code may apply as well when the Transports Code refers to it.

iv Passenger rights

France applies several EU regulations protecting passengers before, during and after their flight.

Before travelling, EU law (Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008, Article 23) and French law (Order of 10 April 2017 on price information for the provision of certain public passenger transport services) guarantee the possibility of comparing services and prices. Regulation (EU) No. 261/2004 protects air passengers in the event of denied boarding, cancellation or flight delay. Air carriers must offer assistance and compensate passengers except in the event of extraordinary circumstances. The classification of extraordinary circumstances depends on each jurisdiction; in practice, French courts are very protective of passengers and do not recognise the existence of extraordinary circumstances very often. Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2006 also protects the rights of disabled or reduced mobility air passengers when travelling by air.

Regulation (EC) No. 2111/2005 adds the obligation for the air carriage contractor to inform the passenger of the identity of the operating air carrier, whatever the means used to make the reservation. The Transports Code is stricter, as any person marketing a ticket on flights of a banned operating air carrier must clearly inform the passenger of the ban.21

According to Law No. 78-17 of 6 January 1978 on Data Processing, Data Files and Liberties, as amended by the General Data Protection Regulation,22 air carriers must process personal customer data in a loyal, fair and adequate manner.23 It shall be kept in a form that permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they are collected and processed.24

v Other legislation

According to Article L6361-12 of the Transports Code, the Airport Pollution Control Authority can impose administrative fines on a person exercising a public air transport activity or for whose benefit an air transport activity is carried out if he or she does not comply with the measures taken by the administrative authority at an aerodrome regarding:

  1. permanent or temporary restrictions on the use of certain types of aircraft on the basis of their polluting air emissions, noise classification, seating capacity or maximum certified takeoff weight;
  2. permanent or temporary restrictions on the exercise of certain activities because of the environmental nuisance they cause;
  3. special takeoff or landing procedures to limit the environmental nuisance caused by these phases of flight;
  4. rules relating to engine tests; and
  5. maximum noise or air pollutant emission values not to be exceeded.

Licensing of operations

i Licensed activities

To be put in circulation, an aircraft must be registered. To be registered in France, the aircraft must comply with the requirements laid down at Article L6111-3 of the Transports Code.

EU air carriers also need to meet requirements of technical and economic reliability and credibility. Compliance with these requirements is evidenced by the holding of an air operator's certificate and an operating licence.25

The certificate is a document issued by the Minister of civil aviation attesting that the air carrier concerned has the professional ability and organisation required to operate aircraft safely.26

The operating licence is a document authorising the undertaking to carry out carriage by air of passengers, mail or cargo for remuneration as specified in, and within the limits defined by, the document. In France, the Minister for transport, under advice from the Higher Council of Civil Aviation, is responsible for decisions regarding the granting of public air transport licences. Air carriers must be treated equally, irrespective of the Member State in which they are licensed. In this respect, Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008 specifies the conditions of financial and technical capacity that must be met.

ii Ownership rules

According to Article 4 of Regulation No. 1008/2008, one of the conditions for an undertaking to be granted an operating licence is that Member States or nationals of Member States, or both, own more than 50 per cent of the undertaking and effectively control it, whether directly or indirectly through one or more intermediate undertakings.

Under French law, Articles L6411-2 et seq. of the Transports Code, and L360-2 of the Civil Aviation Code specify what requirements need to be met by publicly traded companies owning an operating licence in order to respect the 50 per cent rule.

iii Foreign carriers

According to Article 15 of Regulation No. 1008/2008, France cannot subject the operation of intra-Community air services by a Community air carrier to any permit or authorisation; neither can it require Community air carriers to provide any documents or information that they have already supplied to the competent licensing authority.

However, non-Community aircraft may only fly over the French territory if their airworthiness certificate has been approved by the DGCA. The application form – called DGCA LP6 – must be sent to the DGCA Airworthiness Division. The applicant must specify the purpose of the flights in France and the period of time during which the flights are to be operated. He or she must provide a copy of his or her foreign airworthiness document (and associated documents), which must be valid for the period at stake.27


i Accident reporting

Accident reporting is regulated by Article L6222-1 et seq. of the Transports Code and R722-2 et seq. of the Civil Aviation Code. France also applies Regulation (EU) No. 996/2010 on the investigation and prevention of accidents and incidents in civil aviation.

Any operator who has its registered office or principal place of business in France and who operates an aircraft or, failing this, any captain of such an aircraft, must inform the BEA28 (the French safety investigation authority) without delay of any civil aviation accident or incident that has occurred to this aircraft.29

The safety investigation authority must notify without delay the Commission, EASA, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the Member States and third countries concerned in accordance with the international standards and recommended practices of the occurrence of all accidents and serious incidents of which it has been notified.30

ii Airworthiness

Regulation (EU) No. 1321/201431 establishes common technical requirements and administrative procedures for ensuring the continuing airworthiness of aircraft, such as the aircraft maintenance programme and the aircraft continuing airworthiness records system. It also specifies that the operator – in the case of commercial air transport – must use an aircraft technical log system containing the current maintenance statement giving the aircraft maintenance status.

Finally, Regulation No. 1321/2014 states conditions to be met by the persons or organisations involved in such continuing airworthiness management.

iii Maintenance

Regulation (EU) No. 1321/2014 also specifies the maintenance standards to be followed regarding maintenance data, the performance of maintenance and aircraft defects. It also states the requirements to be met by an organisation to qualify for the issue or continuation of an approval for the maintenance of an aircraft.

iv Training

Regulation (EU) No. 1178/2011 of 3 November 2011 lays down detailed rules for:

  1. different ratings for pilots' licences, the conditions for issuing, maintaining, amending, limiting, suspending or revoking licences, and the privileges and responsibilities of the holders of licences;
  2. the conditions for issuing, maintaining, amending, limiting, suspending or revoking cabin crew attestations, as well as the privileges and responsibilities of the holders of cabin crew attestations; and
  3. the conditions for issuing, maintaining, amending, limiting, suspending or revoking certificates of pilot training organisations and of aero-medical centres involved in the qualification and aero-medical assessment of civil aviation aircrew.

This was implemented in France by an Order of 5 April 2012 and modified by Orders of 2 April 2015 and 12 April 2016.


Air carriers and aircraft operators must prove they comply with insurance requirements by providing the DGCA with an insurance certificate or other evidence of valid insurance.

Insurance obligations are defined in Article 50 of the Montreal Convention and detailed in EU Regulation No. 785/2004 on insurance requirements for air carriers and operators32 as follows:

  1. for liability in respect of passengers, the minimum insurance cover is 250,000 special drawing rights (SDR) per passenger. However, in respect of non-commercial operations by aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOM) of 2,700 kilogrammes or less, EU countries may set a lower level of minimum insurance cover, but not below 100,000 SDR per passenger;
  2. for liability in respect of baggage, the minimum insurance cover must be 1,288 SDR per passenger in commercial operations; and
  3. for liability in respect of cargo, the minimum insurance cover must be 22 SDR per kilogramme in commercial operations.

For liability in respect of third parties (i.e., any legal and natural person, excluding passengers and crew) the minimum insurance cover per accident and per aircraft depends on the MTOM of the aircraft. It can vary between 750,000 SDR and 7 million SDR.33

With respect to overflights of France by non-EU air carriers or aircraft registered outside the European Union that do not involve a landing on or takeoff from any Member State, France may, in accordance with international law, request evidence of compliance with the insurance requirements of this Regulation, for example by carrying out random checks.34


i Relevant competition provisions

Competition in the aviation sector is regulated by the TFEU and the French Commercial Code.

The Commercial Code forbids concerted actions or agreements when their purpose or effect is or may be to prevent, restrict or distort competition in a market.35 The abusive use, by an undertaking or group of undertakings, of a dominant position on the domestic market or a substantial part is also prohibited.36 Offers of prices or selling price practices to consumers that are unreasonably low are prohibited where such offers or practices have as their object or effect the elimination from a market of an undertaking.37

Moreover, when necessary, the TFEU provisions are applied and enforced in France by the French Competition Authority. The TFEU applies to the aviation sector when this activity alters trade between Member States.

ii Regulatory regime for anticompetitive behaviour

In cases of anticompetitive behaviour, the Competition Authority may examine whether the practices violate competition provisions or may be justified (for example, if they ensure economic progress).38

The Competition Authority may order the parties to put an end to anticompetitive practices within a specified period of time or impose special conditions. It may also impose a financial penalty applicable either immediately or in the event of failure to comply with the injunctions it has handed down.39

Financial penalties are proportionate to the seriousness of the offences at stake, the extent of the damage caused to the economy, the situation of the body or undertaking penalised and any repetition of the prohibited practices. The maximum amount of the penalty for a legal entity is 10 per cent of its worldwide turnover.40

iii Cooperation agreement between operators

Cooperation agreements are not – per se – prohibited under French law or European law as they can, under certain circumstances, contribute to research and development and therefore improve competition. Cooperation agreements are, however, assessed according to the European Commission's guidelines regarding horizontal cooperation.

iv Criminal liability

According to Article L420-6 of the Commercial Code, a four-year prison sentence and a fine of €75,000 may be imposed on any natural person who fraudulently takes a personal and decisive part in the design, organisation or implementation of anticompetitive practices.

Moreover, if, during its investigation, the Competition Authority finds that such practices should be criminally investigated, it can send the file to the public prosecutor. This transmission interrupts the statute of limitations on public action.

Wrongful death

In France, the general principle is the one of full compensation of all types of damage suffered in relation to an accident. Both moral and material damage are compensable.

In the event of the death of a passenger, his or her relatives can seek compensation for the loss of income due to the death of the victim. Compensation is then calculated based on the income and age of the deceased. It is also possible to seek compensation for the recovery of funeral expenses.

Family members who have suffered the loss of the victim may also be compensated for their moral damage. The amounts awarded in this respect vary according to whether the victim lived with such relative and to their degree of kinship. The amounts awarded also vary from one court to another.

The 'loss of opportunity to have one's life extended in accordance with the life expectancy of a person of his or her age' may also be compensated under specific conditions, such right being transmitted to the victim's heirs.

The prejudice of death anxiety may also be compensated. The purpose is to compensate the anguish of imminent death suffered by the victim who, between the occurrence of the accident and his or her death, remained sufficiently conscious to have contemplated his or her own end.41

It should also be mentioned that claims against air carriers for damage pursuant to the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions must be brought before the civil courts and cannot be made in the context of criminal proceedings.

Establishing liability and settlement

i Procedure

In France, there is no specific jurisdiction, timeline or mechanism to settle air travel claims. In the event of a death or bodily injury, the Montreal and Warsaw Conventions as well as Regulation (EC) No. 889/2002 of 13 May 2002 apply. In accordance with these texts, the time limitation to bring a claim against an air carrier is two years from the date of arrival of the aircraft, and actions for compensation can be brought against any liable party.

ii Carriers' liability towards passengers and third parties

The Montreal Convention regulates the operator's liability towards passengers, in accordance with Article 1 of Regulation (EC) No. 889/2002 of 13 May 2002. The carrier is liable for the damage sustained in the event of death or bodily injury of a passenger as long as the accident took place on board the aircraft or in the course of embarking or disembarking operations.42

According to Article 21 of the Montreal Convention on compensation in the case of death or injury of passengers, the carrier cannot exclude or limit its liability for damages not exceeding 128, 821 SDR for each passenger.43 However, for damages arising that exceed 128,821 SDR, the carrier can exclude its liability, but only if it proves that the damage was not due to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of the carrier or its servants or agents; or was solely due to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of a third party.

The carrier's liability toward passengers in relation to delay, baggage and cargo is limited by Article 22 of the Montreal Convention to:

  1. 22 SDR per kilogramme for the carriage of cargo in the case of destruction, loss, damage or delay unless a special declaration of interest was made by the consignor;
  2. 1,288 SDR per passenger for the carriage of baggage in cases of destruction, loss, damage or delay of the baggage unless a special declaration of interest was made by the passenger; and
  3. 5,346 SDR per passenger for damage caused by delay in the carriage of persons.44

Pursuant to Article L6131-2 of the Transports Code, the operator of an aircraft is systematically liable for ground damage caused by an aircraft or objects that come off it towards a third party. However, damage caused to persons on the ground bound by contract to the operator (i.e., passengers) falls outside the scope of Article L6131-2. Article L6131-1 of the Transports Code adds that in the case of damage caused by one aircraft to another aircraft, the liability of the pilot and the aircraft operator is governed by the provisions set out in the Civil Code.

iii Product liability

Product liability is governed by Article 1245 et seq. of the Civil Code. In accordance with these provisions, the manufacturer is liable for damage caused by a defect in his or her product, whether or not he or she is bound by a contract with the victim. A manufacturer, when acting as a professional, is deemed to be the manufacturer of a finished product, a raw material or a component part.

If the manufacturer cannot be identified, the seller, the lessor or any other professional supplier shall be liable for the lack of safety of the product under the same conditions as the manufacturer, unless it designates its own supplier or the manufacturer within three months of the date on which the victim's request was notified to it.45

The manufacturer may be liable for the defect even though the product has been manufactured in accordance with existing standards or has been the subject of an administrative authorisation.46

iv Compensation

In France, the principle is one of full compensation of any damage (i.e., the victim must be compensated for his or her 'whole but sole' loss). Punitive damages are forbidden, as they would lead to the enrichment of the victim, which is contrary to the principle of full compensation. In practice, French courts admit three main types of damage: property damage; bodily injury, which includes economic loss; and moral damage. To be admitted, the damage must have a causal link with an accident.

In the event of the death or injury of a passenger, the air carrier must make an advance payment to cover immediate economic needs within 15 days of the identification of the person entitled to compensation. For Community carriers, a European regulation has set this advance payment, in the event of death, at an amount not less than 16,000 SDRs per passenger.47 This advance payment is the only obligation imposed on air carriers; consequently, victims and their beneficiaries must take legal action to be fully compensated.

An Inter-ministerial Instruction of 26 April 2017 introduced the emergency plan in the event of a civil aviation accident required by Article 21 of European Regulation No. 996/2010 of 20 October 2010 and sets the plan regarding assistance to victims and their families.


Apart from certain exceptions, a permit issued by the DGCA is required to fly a drone. When the drone weighs more than 800 grammes, the drone pilot must also follow an online training course on the DGCA website and pass an evaluation test. In the event of piloting the drone without a certificate of success, the pilot may have to pay a fine of €450. In addition, a drone weighing more than 800 grammes must be registered with the DGCA, otherwise the pilot may have to pay a fine of €750.48

Moreover, from 29 June 2020, a drone weighing more than 800 grammes will have to issue an electronic signal. If a drone was registered before 29 June 2020, the owner had until 29 December 2020 to bring it into compliance.49

Finally, when piloting a drone, the following rules must be applied:

  1. do not fly over people;
  2. respect the maximum flying heights (150 metres in general);
  3. never lose sight of the camera and do not use it at night;
  4. do not fly the drone over public areas in built-up areas;
  5. do not fly the drone near airfields;
  6. do not fly over sensitive or protected sites, such as nuclear power plants, military land and nature reserves; and
  7. respect the privacy of others by not broadcasting pictures without the consent of the persons concerned, and by not using them for commercial purposes.50

In cases of violation of safety rules and overflight bans, a pilot risks one to six months of imprisonment and a fine of €15,000 to €75,000, as well as having his or her drone confiscated.51

Voluntary reporting

Pursuant to the concept of 'just culture', several provisions have been enacted to encourage the voluntary reporting of incidents to ensure and improve safety.

Among others, France applies Regulation (EU) No. 376/201452 – as implemented by Commission Regulation (EU) No. 2015/1018 – which regulates the reporting, analysis and follow-up of occurrences in civil aviation and aims to protect the reporter and the persons mentioned in occurrence reports, in particular by anonymising these reports. Accidents and serious incidents occurring in France must be reported to the BEA, which then notifies the Commission, the EASA, the ICAO and the Member States and third countries concerned.

Moreover, according to Articles L6223-1 and L6223-2 of the Transports Code, a person who, in the exercise of an activity related to civil aviation, becomes aware of an event is required to report it without delay to the Minister responsible for civil aviation or, where appropriate, to his or her employer. An event is any type of operational interruption, anomaly or failure, or other unusual circumstance, which has had, or is likely to have had, an impact on air safety and which has not given rise to an accident or serious aircraft incident. No administrative, disciplinary or professional sanction may be imposed on the person who reported an event, whether or not he or she was involved in the event, unless he or she is himself or herself guilty of a deliberate or repeated failure to comply with safety rules.

The year in review

Following the covid-19 sanitary crisis, the ICAO has reported that the global industry has suffered a staggering financial loss of around US$370 billion, with airports and air navigation service providers losing a further US$115 billion and US$13 billion, respectively.
In France, after a 74.9 per cent drop in January 2021, the DGCA's air traffic index shows a further nine point decline in February 2021. Aéroports de Paris' CEO has indicated that he does not expect traffic returning to pre-covid-19 levels until the period running between 2024 and 2027.

In this context, the government has presented a plan for the aviation sector of more than €15 billion in aid, investments, loans and guarantees, coordinated with the French aeronautics and space industries group, GIFAS.53

Moreover, the European Commission has approved French plans to grant up to €4 billion for the recapitalisation of Air France through its holding company. The measure was approved under the state aid temporary framework.54

In March 2020, French legislation authorised tourism professionals to offer consumers a voucher of 18 months' validity for any trip cancelled between 1 March and 15 September 2020. This scheme has not been renewed, at the time of writing.


At the time of writing, French legislation requires all passengers arriving in France to present a negative PCR covid-19 test result, carried out less than 72 hours before departure. However, this obligation may evolve, going forward, including during the summer of 2021, which could see the implementation of the digital green certificate proposed by the European Commission to facilitate safe free movement.

The digital green certificate will offer proof that a person has been vaccinated against covid-19, received a negative test result or recovered from covid-19.

On a non-covid-19 related front, the French National Assembly adopted the Climate and Resilience Bill on its first reading on 4 May 2021. On the basis of the provisions of Article 20 of Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008, public passenger air transport services shall be banned on all air routes within the French territory where the route is also operated on the national rail network and on several daily routes of less than two-and-a-half hours' duration. However, the Bill has not yet been voted on by the Senate; thus, successive amendments may change this provision.


1 Aurélia Cadain and Nicolas Bouckaert are partners at Kennedys. They are grateful to Antonino Cento for his invaluable assistance in the preparation of the chapter.

2 Council Regulations (EEC) Nos. 2407/92, 2408/92 and 2409/92, now replaced by Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

3 Article L211-3 of the Civil Aviation Code.

4 Article L221-1 of the Civil Aviation Code.

5 Article 8 of the Council Regulation (EEC) No. 95/93 of 18 January 1993.

6 Regulation (EU) 2021/250 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2021 amending Council Regulation (EEC) No. 95/93 as regards temporary relief from the slot utilisation rules at Union airports due to the COVID-19 crisis.

9 Article L6122-1 of the Transports Code.

10 Article L6122-8 of the Transports Code.

11 Communication from the Commission Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak 2020/C 91 I/01 C/2020/1863 .

13 Article L6327-1 of the Transports Code, as amended.

14 Article L6327-2 of the Transports Code.

15 Articles L6422-3 and L6422-4 of the Transports Code.

16 Articles L6421-1 to L6422-5 of the Transports Code.

17 Article L6421-3 of the Transports Code.

18 Article L6421-4 of the Transports Code.

19 Article L6421-4, Paragraph 2 of the Transports Code.

20 Article L6422-2 of the Transports Code.

21 Article L6421-2-1 of the Transports Code.

22 Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation).

23 Article 6 of Law No. 78-17 of 6 January 1978 on Data Processing, Data Files and Liberties.

24 Article 6 of Law No. 78-17 of 6 January 1978 on Data Processing, Data Files and Liberties.

25 Article L6412-2 of the Transports Code.

26 Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008 of 24 September 2008.

28 Bureau d'enquêtes et d'analyses pour la sécurité de l'aviation civile.

29 Article R722-3 Civil Aviation Code.

30 Article 9 of the Regulation (EU) No. 996/2010.

31 As amended by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1159 of 5 August 2020 amending Regulations (EU) No. 1321/2014 and (EU) No. 2015/640 as regards the introduction of new additional airworthiness requirements.

32 As amended by Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/1118 of 27 April 2020 amending Regulation (EC) No. 785/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on insurance requirements for air carriers and aircraft operators.

33 Article 7 of Regulation (EC) No. 785/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on Insurance Requirements For Air Carriers And Aircraft Operators.

34 Article 8 of Regulation (EC) No. 785/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on Insurance Requirements For Air Carriers And Aircraft Operators.

35 Article L420-1 of the Commercial Code.

36 Article L420-2 of the Commercial Code.

37 Article L420-5 of the Commercial Code.

38 Article L420-4 of the Commercial Code.

39 Article L464-2 of the Commercial Code, as amended on 3 December 2020.

40 Article L464-2 of the Commercial Code, as amended on 3 December 2020.

41 Cass Crim, 23 October 2012, No. 11-83.770; CA Toulouse, 28 January 2021, No. 19/01394.

42 Article 17 of the Montreal Convention.

43 Revised limit as of 28 December 2019.

44 Revised limits as of 28 December 2019.

45 Article 1245-6 of the Civil Code.

46 Article 1245-9 of the Civil Code.

47 Regulation (EC) No. 889/2002 of 13 May 2002 amending Council Regulation (EC) No. 2027/97 on air carrier liability in the event of accidents.

48 Article L6111-1 of the Transport Code; Article L6214-1 and seq. of the Transport Code.

49 Decree of 30 October 2019 and Order of 27 December 2019.

50 Decree of 19 April 2019; Order of 3 December 2020.

51 Article L6232-12 of the Transport Code.

52 As amended by Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 of 4 July 2018.

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