Since 1992, the United States has pursued an “open-skies” policy designed to eliminate government involvement 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 bilateral and multilateral civil air service agreements with foreign aviation partners. Open Skies agreements have vastly expanded international passenger and cargo flights to and from the United States, promoting increased travel and trade, enhancing productivity, and spurring high-quality job opportunities and economic growth. Open Skies agreements do this by eliminating government interference in the commercial decisions of air carriers about routes, capacity, and pricing, freeing carriers to provide more affordable, convenient, and efficient air service for consumers.
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 and the right to fly to all intermediate and beyond points, Open Skies agreements provide maximum operational flexibility for airline alliances.
The United States has reciprocal Open Skies air transport agreements with over 120 partners. In addition to bilateral Open Skies air transport agreements, the United States has negotiated two multilateral Open Skies accords: (1) the 2001 Multilateral Agreement on the Liberalization of International Air Transportation (MALIAT) with New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, and Chile, later joined by Samoa, Tonga, and Mongolia; and (2) the 2007 Air Transport Agreement with the European Community and its Member States. The United States maintains restrictive non-Open Skies air transport agreements with a number of other countries, including China.