Mexico, U.S. Sign New Aviation Agreement

The U.S. Department of State's International Information Programs issued the following press release:

The United States and Mexico have signed a new aviation accord that increases the number of airlines that can fly between U.S. cities and 14 destinations in Mexico.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said in a December 12 statement that the agreement, signed that day in Mexico City, increases from two to three the number of airlines that passengers in each country can select from when flying between the United States and the 14 Mexican cities, which include all of Mexico's major tourist destinations.

The agreement expands on a similar 1999 pact that allowed the two airlines from each country to operate between U.S. and Mexican destinations.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said tourists in the United States and Mexico now will have "more flights to choose from when planning their next vacation," adding: "Travelers in markets covered by this new agreement will enjoy better service as well as the benefits of greater competition."

The Mexican cities covered in the accord are Acapulco, Cancun, Cozumel, Guadalajara, Huatulco, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Loreto, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Merida, Monterrey, Oaxaca, Puerto Vallarta and San Jose del Cabo.

Mineta said the agreement is also "good news" for air-cargo carriers in both countries. For example, Mineta said an unlimited number of scheduled all-cargo carriers now will be allowed to fly between the United and Mexico. Previously, only 10 cargo carriers - five from Mexico and five from the United States - could operate scheduled service to the other country.

The Transportation Department also said the agreement enhances "code-sharing" opportunities for U.S. and Mexican airlines, "opening up new competitive options for travelers between the United States and Mexico."

Code-sharing is a commercial pact between two airlines that allows an airline to put its two-letter identification code on the flights of another airline in computerized reservations systems. This means, for example, that customers can fly on a US Airways flight from their hometown to a city served by both US Airways and United Airlines, and then continue on a United Airlines aircraft to their final destination using the US Airways ticket designator.

In a December 12 statement about the agreement, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Antonio Garza said "both businesses and individual consumers win when countries allow their air carriers to compete for passengers." The agreement, he said, "will allow new travel options and open the market to travelers who had, in the past, never dreamed they could afford to buy an airline ticket."

The agreement also now treats Washington and the nearby city of Baltimore as two separate air markets, meaning that additional airlines can provide service between the Washington/Baltimore area and Mexico.

The agreement was signed by U.S. Under Secretary of Transportation Jeffrey Shane and Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transportation Pedro Cerisola y Weber.

Additional information on the signing of the accord is available on the U.S. Embassy in Mexico's Web site at http://mexico.usembassy.gov/mexico/ep051212aviation.html. Information on the 1999 pact is available on the Transportation Department's Web site at http://www.dot.gov/affairs/1999/dot2299.htm.

For more information on U.S. policy, see Mexico at http://usinfo.state.gov/wh/americas/mexico.html.



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