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US and EU may sign agreement by as early as 1Q06

SYDNEY (Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation) - US and EU are a step closer to reaching a landmark agreement on unlimited access for carriers on both sides of the Atlantic.

The deal, which could be implemented as early as the Northern Winter of 2006, hinges on the review in Jan-06 of a proposal by the US to ease foreign ownership restrictions in US carriers. If agreement is reached, pressure could significantly rise on Asia Pacific Governments to further liberalise access.

"This agreement would bring nearly 750 million people and 26 countries together to comprise the largest and most lucrative open aviation market ever created. I hope that this agreement will be approved so our airlines, travellers, and economies can begin reaping its benefits”, Norman Mineta, US Transportation Secretary.

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