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AEA welcomes open skies agreement as important first step

Today’s agreement reached by European Union (EU) ministers on an open skies deal with the USA has been welcomed by the Association of European Airlines (AEA), which says it is “good news for passengers”.

EU transport ministers today reached an agreement on the draft open skies accord forged with the USA on 2 March, details of which are expected to be released shortly.

“This is a step in the right direction,” says AEA secretary general Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, although he adds that the immediate commercial advantages for airlines are difficult to assess at this stage.

“The agreement establishes a framework which includes, but goes beyond, market opportunities,” notes Schulte-Strathaus. “A joint EU/US committee will be created to harmonise standards between the European Union and the United States.”

AEA stresses that the agreement is “only a first step” towards the goal of achieving “a true EU-US open aviation area”. It adds: “The second stage, as set forward in the agreement, gives both parties the means to negotiate further liberalisation and eventually achieve the sort of framework this mature and competitive industry needs.”

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