US/EU Negotiators Reach Agreement on Stage Two of Open Skies Talks

The United States and the European Union today reached agreement on an expansion of their historic 2007 Open-Skies agreement that will provide for greater U.S-EU cooperation on a wide range of aviation issues. The agreement was concluded after eight rounds of talks, the most recent of which included three days of talks in Brussels, Belgium.

“Today’s agreement strengthens our already close aviation relationship with our European partners,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “President Obama promised European leaders that we would reach an agreement this year, and today we fulfill that promise.”

Today’s accord builds on the U.S.-EU Open-Skies agreement. Signed in April 2007, that agreement eliminated restrictions on services between the United States and EU member states, allowing airlines from both sides to select routes and destinations based on consumer demand for both passenger and cargo services, without limitations on the number of U.S. or EU carriers that can fly between the two parties or the number of flights they can operate.

The new agreement affirms that the terms of the 2007 agreement will remain in place indefinitely. It also deepens U.S.-EU cooperation in aviation security, safety, competition, and ease of travel. In addition, it provides greater protections for U.S. carriers from local restrictions on night flights at European airports. It also includes a ground-breaking article on the importance of high labor standards in the airline industry.

The new agreement underscores the importance of close transatlantic cooperation on aviation environmental matters in order to advance a global approach to global challenges.