US expresses support for EU-US open skies agreement, US-Japan talks commence
US Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, expressed his support for the US-EU open skies agreement, which came into effect in Mar-2008, stating that the agreement has been “very good for the flying public and for spurring growth in the industry” (Dow Jones, 10-Sep-2009). The comments come less than a month before US and EU officials are due to resume negotiations on the second round of open skies negotiations. The European Commission stated it was encouraged by the support shown by Mr LaHood. Concerns had been raised for the future of the open skies agreement, after US House of Representatives Transportation Committee Chairman, Rep. James Oberstar, expressed his "deep concern over the decline of airline competition in international markets." Separately, the US and Japan commenced three days of bilateral air services negotiations this week.