December 7th, 2006 04:06 EST
United States Remains Committed to Open Skies Agreement with EU
Washington -- Despite withdrawing a proposal for increased international investment in U.S. airlines, the United States “remains fully committed” to signing an Open Skies agreement with the European Union (EU), State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said December 6.
The agreement, which would allow the aviation industry to deregulate and become more market-based, creates a “win-win” situation “for consumers, airlines and communities on both sides of the Atlantic,” McCormack said.
The United States continues its “strong support” for international trade and investment, including closer economic cooperation with the EU. The Open Skies agreement would benefit both sides by “increasing travel and transport options, catalyzing trade and employment growth and enhancing people-to-people contacts,” McCormack said.
According to a Department of Transportation (DOT) notice released December 5, the Bush administration decided to withdraw a proposal that would have allowed international investors to have “more input in the marketing, routing and fleet structures of U.S. airlines.” That decision was taken after reviewing “a multitude” of comments from the public, including members of the U.S. Congress.
Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said: “It was clear from reviewing the comments that the department needs to do more to inform the public, labor groups and Congress about the benefits of allowing more international investment. We need a stronger national consensus about the best means of achieving that objective.”
Peters reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to completing the Open Skies agreement with the EU and said the withdrawal of the proposal “in no way deters us from our goal of giving U.S. airlines complete access to the world’s capital markets.”
She added that DOT wants to work with Congress and the aviation industry “to find new ways to make it easier for airlines to raise money from global investors.”
The full text of the DOT notice can be found on the agency's Web site.
More information on Open Skies agreements is available on the State Department Web site.
(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)