The USA has continued its push for new open-skies deals with the signing of its new aviation agreement with Singapore, which is the first fully liberalised pact within the key Asia Pacific region.

"The signing of this agreement-represents an important step toward ending restrictions on aviation services in Asia. We look forward to entering into open-skies agreements with all nations in the Asia-Pacific region that share our goals of open markets and unfettered opportunities," says US Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater.

Preliminary open-skies pacts have been signed with Taiwan and Brunei, which US officials hope will be finalised soon, while negotiations continue in Malaysia. Tougher talks are expected with South Korea and New Zealand.

Hong Kong has also signed a new US bilateral, opening new North American destinations to Cathay Pacific. Under the agreement concluded in 1995, Cathay can operate unlimited numbers of flights to 14 US cities (six passenger destinations and eight freight). It now operates to Los Angeles and New York and plans to add a cargo service to Chicago from June.

The USA has signed open-skies pacts with Jordan and Panama. The Clinton Administration hopes for similar deals in other Latin American countries, including Chile, where talks continue.

Source: Flight International