Cracks have emerged in the European Union's US Open Skies negotiating team after transport ministers rejected the latest US offer late last week. Germany joined France and the Netherlands in calling for a mini-deal with the USA linked to guaranteed further talks on market access for European carriers in the USA. European Commission vice-president Loyola de Palacio says the latest US offer, which includes the quasi-charter indirect air carrier concept, "is not enough in terms of market access". The UK is leading opposition to any deal that does not include cabotage rights for European carriers in the USA, fearing US reluctance to negotiate further once open access to London Heathrow is granted. The EC, however, is coming under increasing pressure to sign an early deal in a bid to legalise pending European airline mergers.


Source: Flight International