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EU and US expected to miss June deadline for open skies agreement.

AIRLINE INDUSTRY INFORMATION-(C)1997-2006 M2 COMMUNICATIONS LTD

The June deadline set for the European Union and the United States to make an open skies agreement will not be met.

According to the European Commission's director of air transport Daniel Calleja, the EU and the US hope to make the agreement so it will step into force on 25 March 2007, which is before the summer schedules start. An open skies agreement between the EU and the US is expected to boost air travel, create jobs and lower passenger fares, The Associated Press reported.

The new agreement would allow EU and US airlines to fly to wherever they choose and charge whatever they choose for transatlantic services. Under the current bilateral agreements with individual EU countries and the US, European airlines are allowed to fly to any US airport only from airports located in their home country. This so-called nationality clause means that European airlines that merge risk losing US landing rights.

According to Reuters, the new agreement depends on how the US authorities formulate rules for the level of investment European companies can have in US airlines. The matter is not officially part of the agreement but the EU has made it a key issue in whether or not it will sign an open skies agreement with the US. The Union is now waiting to see the final version of the rules.

Currently 15 European Union member states have open skies agreements with the US. The UK and Spain are among five that have agreements that are less free than the open skies concept, while the remaining five states, including the three Baltic countries, have no aviation agreement with the US at all.

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Publication:Airline Industry Information
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 12, 2006
Words:296
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