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American Shipper

IATA greets reopening of U.S.-EU aviation talks

IATA greets reopening of U.S.-EU aviation talks

   The Geneva-based International Air Transport Association (IATA) has welcomed Tuesday’s decision by the U.S. Department of Transport and the European Union to reopen talks on an aviation trade agreement.

   “The reopening of U.S.-EU discussions on an Open Aviation Area is a golden opportunity for change that will result in a stronger and more competitive aviation industry,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and chief executive officer.

   Negotiations between the United States and the EU have faltered since they started in 2003. A big stumbling block is how to open passenger markets to foreign competition. U.S. diplomats have not been willing to split off air cargo from the discussions to reduce regulation in that sector ahead of a comprehensive agreement.

   “The U.S. and EU are in a unique position to lead the industry with a bold new agreement that could become a model for global change. Both parties must think beyond the traditional and beyond open skies. Airlines need to be able to conduct their business like any other business. That means not only the freedom to serve markets where they exist, but also to access global capital markets and merge and consolidate across borders where it makes good business sense,” Bisignani said.

   IATA believes the latest round of talks, due to open in Brussels next Monday, will provide an opportunity to erase previous “half-measures in the industry’s regulatory environment.”

   “I challenge both parties to come to an agreement that takes us beyond the half-measures of the past and lets the airlines get on with business,” Bisignani said.

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