U.S. and European Union airlines would gain access to each other’s markets if terms agreed to in the most recent round of negotiations take effect. U.S. and E.U. airlines would gain pricing freedom and unlimited rights to flow beyond the E.U. and U.S. to points in third countries, negotiators announced. The terms are subject to regulatory approval on both sides of the Atlantic. The U.S. Department of Transportation currently has a notice of proposed rulemaking that enhances opportunities for non-U.S. investment in U.S. airlines. The comment period for that proposed rulemaking ends on January 6, 2006 and could result in a final decision by February. E.U. regulators are watching that process and are unlikely to take any further action on the agreement until the outcome of the U.S. action is known.
As approved, the agreement would allow every E.U. and U.S. airline to fly between every city in the E.U. and every city in the U.S., including rights to fly beyond the E.U. and U.S. to points in third countries.