U.S., U.K. OPEN ANOTHER ROUND OF AVIATION TALKS
U.S. and U.K. negotiators will meet in Washington this week to try to liberalize air services between the two countries, with a focus on restoring transatlantic service between Pittsburgh and London.
The Pittsburgh/London route has become a key obstacle to further liberalization of the U.S./U.K. air cargo and passenger markets. British Airways suspended its service to Pittsburgh last summer, and no other airline has rights to serve the route. US Airways, which has a hub in Pittsburgh, wants the right to serve London.
U.S. aviation officials have said that U.K. negotiators have proposed to free up access to Heathrow Airport for U.S. airlines and to open the U.S./U.K. cargo market, but that any deal is contingent on resumption of service between Pittsburgh and London.
In anticipation of this week’s talks, Northwest Airlines has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation for nonstop service to London from its Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul hubs.
“It is our understanding that during these meetings the U.S. and the United Kingdom will consider entering into a limited new accord,” said Elliott Seiden, Northwest’s vice president of government affairs, in a statement. “Should such negotiations transpire, we have asked the U.S. to secure sufficient new rights to enable Northwest to implement nonstop Detroit/Heathrow and Minneapolis-St. Paul/Heathrow service.”