Aviation deregulation kicks in for U.S.-EU market
The open skies agreement between the United States and the European Union went into effect Sunday, opening a new era for airlines to operate with more freedom between the two aviation markets.
The elimination of restrictions means airlines will be able to fly to the United States from any European Union country, not just their home country and can serve any U.S. airport. Also eliminated are restrictions on types of aircraft, prices, and the number of weekly flights.
Flights between London-Heathrow and the United States, for example, will increase about 20 percent compared to April 2007, the EU estimates.
Deregulation is expected to open competition on routes with the potential for lower fares for consumers. Shippers could benefit by having more options for freight transport.
In May, the European Commission and the U.S. State Department will commence second-stage negotiations on further opening the transatlantic aviation market in areas such as investment, air services and access by foreign carriers to domestic markets.