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European Union, UK and US Pass Open Skies Agreement…For the Most Part

The European Union, UK and US passed an open skies agreement that would allow for greater airline access between the areas.  Airlines will be free to fly from any country in the EU to the United States (currently, for the most part, airlines can only fly from their home country to the US).  This is, of course, good for competition.  The other headline is that London Heathrow will be opened to competition.  Currently, only 4 carriers are permitted to fly between LHR and the US (BA, Virgin, AA, and United).  Continental has already said they’ll apply for Houston – LHR service next year.  Don’t hold your breath, though, as Heathrow is already overcrowded and there are no landing slots left to give.

Also, the UK wasn’t particularly thrilled about this whole thing, so the agreement won’t actually go into place for another year.  Plus, the EU has the right to suspend this whole agreement by 2010 if the US doesn’t loosen up its airline foreign ownership rules.  This is all a nice first step, but it’s hardly set in stone.

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