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Civil Air Transport Agreements

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Since 1992 the United States has pursued an “Open Skies” policy designed to eliminate government intervention in airline decision-making about routes, capacity, and pricing in international markets.

The Department of State, working with the Departments of Transportation and Commerce, negotiates agreements with foreign governments that provide the framework for commercial air service. The most liberal of those civil air transport agreements, called “Open Skies” agreements, have provided the opportunity for expansion of international passenger and cargo flights to and from the United States.  They promote economic growth by increasing travel and trade, enhancing productivity, and spurring high-quality job opportunities.  Open Skies agreements do so by eliminating government intervention in the commercial decisions of air carriers about routes, capacity, and pricing, thereby freeing the carriers to provide more affordable, convenient, and efficient air service for consumers and shippers.

America’s Open Skies policy has gone hand-in-hand with U.S. airline globalization.  By allowing U.S. air carriers unlimited market access to our partners’ markets as well as rights to fly to points in between and beyond, Open Skies agreements provide maximum operational flexibility worldwide for U.S. airlines.

The United States has reciprocal Open Skies air transports in place with over 125 partners.  Among these are several important accords addressing rights and obligations with multiple aviation partners:  the 2001 Multilateral Agreement on the Liberalization of International Air Transportation (MALIAT) with New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, and Chile, later joined by Tonga and Mongolia; the 2007 Air Transport Agreement with the European Union and its Member States; and the 2011 Air Transport Agreement between the United States of America, the European and its Member States, Iceland, and Norway.  The United States maintains more restrictive air transport agreements with a number of other countries, including China.

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