U.S.-Canada open skies deal to benefit shippers
The United States and Canada have agreed to remove artificial restrictions on international airline operations. Under the open skies treaty airlines will be free to schedule as many flights as possible, choose aircraft and routes, and set prices without government controls to protect local markets.
“Open skies between the United States and Canada will mean better service at lower prices for the passengers and shippers of both countries,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, said in a statement.
The new agreement significantly enhances a 1995 air services treaty which deregulated bilateral air transportation, but didn’t allow airlines to continue flying to third countries without returning home first and severely limited express cargo service.
The air services agreement in place since 1995 led to a 124 percent increase in scheduled cargo volume, from 121,000 tons to 271,000 tons per year.
The new agreement allows passenger and all-cargo airlines to pick up a load in the partner country and transport it to another country as part of continuing service. It also allows air carriers to operate standalone all-cargo services between the partner territory and third countries.
The decision is a victory for UPS, which has been vocal about the need for the Canadian government to allow air cargo carriers to pick up air cargo in Canada en route to another destination. The deal, however, does not address another UPS goal of allowing its planes to serve more than one Canadian city per flight.
United Airlines issued a statement saying the deal increases access for consumers.
The new agreement is expected to take effect in September 2006.