In practice, the effects of liberalization are most measurable as regards air transport. The number of cities with international connections has increased by 70% since 1992, while economy fares fell on average by 15% between 1997 and 2000 (though business
fares rose). In addition, public service obligations have been imposed in respect of peripheral areas and those with a low volume of traffic, so helping to support their economic development. These obligations are often combined with the provision of subsidies. As it is evident from the Third Report on Economic and Social Cohesion (A New Partnership for Cohesion), the European Commission believes that passengers air transport most benefited by the liberalization process started in the eighties among the services of general interest. The aim of this work is to suggest an evaluation of the contribution of the passengers
air transport service to the Union economic, social and territorial cohesion in the frame of the indicated liberalization process. Six criteria were used (universality and general accessibility; affordability and price equalization; social accessibility; territorial accessibility; continuity and quality of provision; spatial cohesion and development) and nine European countries were considered: Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom.