EUROPE & CIS: EU-US open skies agreement inches forward

A second stage open skies aviation agreement between the European Union and the US has drawn criticism from the airline industry for failing to make progress toward a fully open trans- Atlantic passenger and cargo market. The European Commission, the EU’s executive wing, said that the two sides had taken a “major step forward” toward […]


A second stage open skies aviation agreement between the European Union and the US has drawn criticism from the airline industry for failing to make progress toward a fully open trans- Atlantic passenger and cargo market.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive wing, said that the two sides had taken a “major step forward” toward a permanent open skies accord after three days of talks in Brussels.

European transport commissioner Siim Kallas said “a process has been agreed” to remove limitations on foreign ownership of airlines, a key issue that has threatened to derail negotiations.

The International Air Transportation Association criticised the draft agreement which builds on the original open skies accord that took effect in March 2008.

“It is disappointing that, at this critical time, we did not make significant progress on the issue of ownership,” said IATA chief executive Giovanni Bisignani. “The agreement was not a step backward, but it did not move us forward,” Bisignani said.