US and Europe ponder open skies


Phase two of the EU and US talks to deregulate aviation links have seen the two regions agree to expand cooperation on safety and security, as well as increased protection on US carriers from night flight laws in European skies. In theory, the two parties have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for further liberalization in the trans-Atlantic market.

ATA applauds the work and visionary leadership of the US and EU negotiating teams in delivering today’s important agreement,” said James May, Air Transport Association of America (ATA) president and CEO.

“This agreement will produce significant new consumer benefits in the trans-Atlantic market, as the commercial and operational freedoms it provides drive both increased competition and more service improvements.”

But it appears not everyone is happy, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressing its disappointment that talks did not change any existing laws that limit foreign ownership of airlines.

“It is disappointing that, at this critical time, we did not make significant progress on the issue of ownership,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA director general and CEO.

“The agreement was not a step backwards, but it did not move us forward. The long-term financial sustainability of the industry is dependant on normal commercial freedoms. I urge both governments to keep this on the radar screen for urgent follow-up.”