Today, the United States and European Union (EU) initialed a “Second Stage” civil aviation agreement, expanding the historic 2007 “Open Skies” agreement by providing for greater U.S.-EU cooperation on a wide range of aviation issues. The agreement was concluded after eight rounds of talks, including three days of discussions in Brussels, Belgium. The agreement fulfills a mandate from President Obama and his EU counterparts at the last U.S.-EU Summit to reach a “Second Stage” civil aviation agreement this year.
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 countries 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 arbitrary 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.