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Brussels, 25 March 2010
FAQs ON THE SECOND STAGE EU-US "OPEN SKIES" AGREEMENT AND EXISTING FIRST STAGE AIR SERVICES AGREEMENT
FAQs ON THE NEGOTIATIONS ON A SECOND STAGE EU-US AIR TRANSPORT AGREEMENT
What are the new elements of the second stage agreement?
A large number of elements will enter into effect immediately:
Other elements will enter into effect at a later stage as they are subject to legislative changes on either side:
What is the anticipated economic benefit of this agreement?
What is the link between the first and second stage agreements?
On March 30, 2008, the First Stage EU-US "Open-Skies" Agreement came into effect, introducing new commercial freedoms for operators and an unprecedented framework for regulatory cooperation in the field of transatlantic aviation. The agreement replaced the individual agreements Member States had with the United States, and removed all barriers for airlines of either side wishing to fly between and beyond Europe and the United States. For the first time, European airlines could operate from bases outside their licensing state, creating the opportunity, for example, for British Airways to operate flights from Paris to New York.
The agreement also included a comprehensive new regulatory framework within which these new freedoms could be exercised, reflecting the importance placed by Europe and the United States on safe, secure and effective regulation of the sector. A new body responsible for implementation of the agreement, the Joint Committee, was formed, and new cooperative initiatives in the areas of security, competition and air traffic management were launched.
This ground-breaking agreement has paved the way for new entrants into once sheltered markets and provided an open market for all trans-Atlantic routes between the United States and Europe, thereby facilitating greater competition, encouraging job creation and helping to lower air fares.
Importantly, the first stage agreement also established a road-map for negotiations on further improvements to the agreement aimed at creating additional opportunities for both sides, particularly within each other's domestic markets, and deepening the already excellent level of cooperation on aviation issues of common interest.
When did the second stage negotiations begin?
Why have the negotiations taken so long?
FAQs ON THE FIRST STAGE EU-US AIR SERVICES AGREEMENT
When did the First Stage Agreement enter into force?
The EU-US Air Transport Agreement, signed on 30 April 2007, has been in effect since 30 March 2008.
What were the new rights for EU airlines in the first stage agreement?
What has been the commercial effect of the first stage agreement?
The immediate effect of the agreement has been to remove constraints and enable competition to thrive. Although services have since been affected by the crisis, the number of flights and degree of competition available to consumers is now considerably higher than under the previous set of bilateral arrangements.
In the first year following implementation of the agreement, the effect was considerable, with the total number of flights between the EU and the US in April-June 2008 8% higher than the same period in 2007.
Transatlantic services have increased particularly in those Member States where restrictive agreements were previously in place. In London-Heathrow alone, flights to the US increased by 18 daily flights, an increase of more than 20%. Flights to the US from Spain and Ireland have also increased.
Airlines have also made use of the opportunity to operate transatlantic flights from outside their home country. For example, British Airways' subsidiary, Open Skies, operates daily between Paris and the US destinations of Washington and New York.
Many airlines have made use of the extended code-sharing opportunities opened up by the agreement. For example, SkyTeam partners Air France-KLM and Delta/Northwest have secured antitrust immunity for their operations. Oneworld partners British Airways, Iberia, and American have also applied for antitrust immunity for a closer alliance.
Furthermore, there has been new transatlantic investment in the airline industry. German airline Lufthansa acquired 19% of US carrier JetBlue in February 2008.
How do the EU and the US cooperate in regulatory issues?
The Agreement introduces unprecedented mechanisms for regulatory convergence, notably in competition, state aid and security. The objective is to minimize incompatibilities between the rules and policy approaches on either side of the Atlantic.
The provisions on security are key towards a 'one-stop security' approach. The regulatory cooperation includes also provisions on EU-US technical cooperation in relation to climate change, on consumer protection and on the development of joint EU-US approaches in international organisations.
Are there concrete examples of this regulatory cooperation?
How does the Commission monitor the implementation of the Agreement?
The Agreement establishes a new mechanism: The EU-US Joint Committee. This has already met a total of nine  times to oversee implementation of the Agreement and ensure regulatory cooperation.
The sources of these estimates are two Studies undertaken by the Brattle consultative Group:
(i) the 'Economic impact of an EU-US Open Aviation Area' (2002) Commissioned by the European Commission into the benefits of an Open Aviation Area (OAA) Aviation Agreement for the US and Europe; and
(ii) A study commissioned by the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, U.S., and included in the publication 'Deep Integration: How Transatlantic Markets are Leading Globalization.' (2005)