Open Skies Partnerships: Expanding the Benefits of Freer Commercial Aviation

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
January 21, 2017

What are Open Skies Agreements?

Open Skies agreements are bilateral agreements that the U.S. Government negotiates with other countries to provide rights for airlines to offer international passenger and cargo services. They are pro-consumer, pro-competition, and pro-growth. They expand international passenger and cargo flights by eliminating government interference in commercial airline decisions about routes, capacity, and pricing, so airlines can provide more affordable, convenient, and efficient air service to consumers, promoting increased travel and trade, and spurring high-quality job creation and economic growth. Open Skies agreements expand cooperative marketing opportunities between airlines, liberalize charter regulations, improve flexibility for airline operations, and commit both governments to high standards of safety and security. They also facilitate countless new cultural links worldwide.

Growth in Open Skies Partnerships

Since 1992, the United States has achieved Open Skies with 120 foreign partners. In 2015 and 2016, we finalized Open Skies agreements with Ukraine, Serbia, Cote d’ Ivoire, Seychelles, Togo, Azerbaijan and Curacao (Kingdom of the Netherlands) and a modernized air transport agreement with Mexico. Over 70 percent of international departures from the United States now fly to Open Skies partners. We have Open Skies with countries at all levels of economic development, including major economies like Brazil, India, Japan, and South Korea and smaller countries like Equatorial Guinea. Our agreement with the European Union liberalized the largest international aviation market in the world.


  • The Brookings Institution estimates that Open Skies agreements add approximately $4 billion in annual economic gains to consumers. (U.S. Airlines for Open Skies)
  • U.S. Airlines for Open Skies estimates that full liberalization through Open Skies agreements would lead to a 16-percent increase in air traffic and support 9 million jobs in aviation and related industries. (U.S. Airlines for Open Skies)
  • Open Skies has dramatically expanded direct international connections to cities like Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Memphis, Minneapolis, Orlando, Portland, and Salt Lake City. (Airports Council International – North America)

For further information, please contact Shante Moore at, Tel: 202-647-9797, or visit