EU says 'open skies' deal will not lead to airline mergers


Brussels (Thomson Financial) - The European Commission said the transatlantic 'open skies' agreement between the EU and US, effective from this Sunday, will not lead to mergers between airlines. EU transport commissioner Jacques Barrot said on the prospects for greater consolidation: "I don't think that liberalisation in air traffic is going to lead to mergers and is going to be fatal to small airlines because small airlines also have a number of opportunities in the European sky."

"As soon as major companies can develop their traffic on the transatlantic route this will open up new route(s) for smaller airlines including low cost," he added. The agreement, taking effect on March 30, was signed on April 30 last year in Washington, US and replaces 21 bilateral accords.

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