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PR(01)20: The EFTA Surveillance Authority decided to authorize emergency measures in support of airline companies and airports in Norway following the events of 11 September 2001


In a decision taken today, the EFTA Surveillance Authority decided not to raise objections to the temporary provision of supplementary insurance cover for third-party damage due to acts of war and terrorism in support of airline companies and airports in Norway.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on 11 September 2001, insurance companies reduced, with effect from 24 September 2001 at midnight, insurance cover for damage due to acts of war and terrorism (‘war insurance’) to a level not regarded as adequate by Norwegian airline companies and airports.

In order to avoid the stoppage of all commercial air traffic as of 24 September 2001 at midnight, the Norwegian Government offered ‘war insurance’ exceeding insurance cover that was, at that time, available on the commercial insurance market. The insured airline companies and airports had to pay a premium, which was due at the end of the insurance period, i.e. 25 October 2001. The State-provided ‘war insurance’ is administered by an insurance company, which receives 15% of gross premium income collected under the insurance scheme as remuneration for its services.

In assessing the compatibility of these measures, the Authority applied Article 61 (2)(b) of the EEA Agreement (which allows for the possibility to grant “aid to make good the damage caused by …exceptional occurrences”), in accordance with the criteria established by the EC Commission in its Communication of 10 October 2001 on “The repercussions of the terrorist attacks in the United States on the air transport industry”.

Against this background, the Authority verified, in particular, that the State-provided ‘war insurance’ was limited to remedy the withdrawal of such insurance cover by the commercial insurance market and did not place air carriers and airports in a position which was more favourable than before the events of 11 September 2001, that the insured paid a reasonable premium and that the ‘war insurance’ was limited to 30 days.

The Authority also announces that it is currently finalizing its assessment of aid measures adopted in Iceland for the period 24 September until 24 October 2001 and that it has been notified by the Icelandic Government of a prolongation of these measures, from 24 October until 24 November 2001

For further information, please contact Mr. Utne (tel.: 02-286.18.50) or Mrs. Antoniadis (tel.: 02-286.18.52).


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