Saturday, March 24, 2007

Open Skies For The EU ; But What About US?

The EU has come to a landmark decision on an 'open skies' agreement with the United States this week. For the first time in aviation history, this allows flying from anywhere in Europe to anywhere in the US, point-to-point.

Previously, complicated treaties, some dating back sixty years, have been overturned to allow freeing up on transatlantic air routes by US and European airlines.

Some of the particulars of the original agreements saw only two US and two UK carriers fly from the US direct to London Heathrow, the World's most lucrative international airport. At Heathrow, landing and takeoff slots on the two overcrowded runways can exchange hands for millions of pounds.

However, the so called 'open skies' move isn't really that, at least to European based carriers that is. EU based carriers will be unable to fly internally in the US, but US carriers will be allowed to do just that in European airspace.

Once again, it seems that the country with the World's seemingly biggest open market and spirit of free enterprise has closed the door allowing old fashioned government protectionism to keep the US economy in a bubble.

There is a get-out clause that airlines, especially British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are keen to see used, which is the deal is off unless the US government allows foreign investment in the US domestic air market.

The Truthiness Blog Says ; Mr Bush, defender of the faith, protector of the free market, it's over to you.

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