The paper seeks to compare and contrast how different EEA (European Economic Area member states have adopted and made use of the public service obligation (PSO mechanism in air transport. Analysis shows that there is considerable variation in the extent and way in which various countries have adopted the PSO mechanism. Some countries, such as France, the Irish Republic and Norway, have made extensive use of PSOs on their domestic scheduled air services networks. This is in contrast to the approach adopted in the United Kingdom, where a number of lifeline air services are vulnerable to potentially adverse airline pricing and output decisions. This suggests that there are major inconsistencies in the approach and commitment to social air services provision across the European Union which may undermine broader policy initiatives designed to enhance mobility and accessibility
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