BA chair: Europe on sale

Or at least the continent’s airlines are. And that For Sale sign is in stark contrast to what’s on offer in the States, says British Airways chairman Martin Broughton. Travelling to New York City to address the Wings Club, long-standing aviation organisation, Broughton said the US offer to liberalise ownership and control of US-flag airlines – the offer that is supposed to melt the freeze in transatlantic open skies talks – just doesn’t go far enough.

The Transportation Department plan holds out to foreign investors the opportunity to participate in some of the commercial decisions of US airlines –  but the actual control of US airlines would remain in the hands of US citizens. Crucially, US airlines must remain 75% US-owned.
The EU, on the other hand, is offering full, 100% control of its airlines with no limits, exclusions, or caveats as the basis for a new agreement with the
US for a transatlantic open aviation area. Broughton says, “The European aviation market currently has more attractive investment opportunities. It’s growing and most of its airlines are financially sound without resort to state aid or Chapter 11.”

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