Phase two of EU-US Open Skies to be signed tomorrow

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Phase two of the European Union-USA Open skies agreement will be signed tomorrow during a transport council meeting in Luxembourg.

The Spanish ministry of public works says the deal will be signed at tomorrow's meeting by US secretary of transportation Ray LaHood and EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas.

Spain's foreign affairs ministry had already signalled earlier this month that the agreement would be signed before the end of the Spanish EU presidency on 30 June.

Also on the agenda for the transport council meeting will be Europe's response to April's volcanic ash cloud crisis, which led to the closure of much of the region's airspace for almost a week.

A series of response measures were agreed upon during the 4 May transport council meeting, and the European Commission says it will at tomorrow's meeting "report on the implementation and the progress made".

Association of European Airlines secretary general Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus is calling for decisions to be made on how to reimburse airlines for the losses they incurred during the airspace shutdown. "We urgently seek guidance from the transport ministers as to how airlines may seek restitution for the losses they have suffered," he says.