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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 28, 2008


U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement Becomes Effective March 30

On March 30, the comprehensive first-stage U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement signed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, and their European Union counterparts on April 30, 2007, becomes effective. The Agreement establishes Open Skies between the U.S. and all 27 EU member states— a geographical area accounting for an estimated 60 percent of global air traffic.

This pro-growth, pro-competition, pro-consumer agreement is a major breakthrough in transatlantic economic relations. The Agreement represents a “win/win” for consumers, airlines, and communities on both sides of the Atlantic: increasing travel and transport options, catalyzing trade and employment growth, and enhancing people-to-people contacts. Consumers on both sides of the Atlantic will benefit from new air services that were not permitted in the past

Under the Agreement, all U.S. and EU airlines may fly between any point in the EU and any point in the U.S. without restrictions on routes, the number of flights, or prices charged. Already, Aer Lingus is offering non-stop flights from Ireland to Washington, San Francisco, and Orlando that were not authorized under the old U.S.-Ireland agreement. At London’s Heathrow Airport, five new airlines are offering service between the United States and Heathrow: Air France, Continental, Delta, Northwest, and US Airways. At least five additional United States cities will have non-stop service to Heathrow: Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Houston, and Raleigh.

The first-stage of this agreement is the culmination of four years of intense negotiations and demonstrates what Europe and the United States, working together, can accomplish. Second-stage negotiations with the European Union will begin in Ljubljana on May 15, hosted by the Government of Slovenia, which has the EU presidency through June.

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Released on March 28, 2008

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