A long-awaited open-skies agreement between the USA and Brazil has entered into force, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) confirms to FlightGlobal.
The deal took effect after an exchange of diplomatic notes between the two governments on 21 May, says the regulator.
While an open-skies agreement was first signed in March 2011, the deal has taken years to be ratified and only gained approval by Brazil's congress in the last six months before making its way to a signature by Brazil's president Michel Temer.
"The agreement strengthens and expands our already strong trade and tourism links with Brazil and will benefit American and Brazilian businesses and travelers. It will allow for an expansion of air service opportunities and encourage vigorous price competition by airlines, while safeguarding aviation safety and security," says the DOT.
The entry into force of the open-skies deal will pave the way for Oneworld carriers American Airlines and LATAM Airlines Group to file for anti-trust immunity for a planned joint venture. Brazil's Azul has also said it had initiated talks with partner United Airlines for a similar partnership.
American’s senior vice president of government affairs Nate Gatten says: "This agreement will strengthen economic ties between the US and Brazil and deliver significant benefits for consumers."
Azul, LATAM and United did not immediately comment.