22 March 2007

European Transport Ministers to decide on "open skies" deal with the United States

Tonight, New Zealand time, European Transport Ministers are due to make a decision on the proposed European Union-United States "open skies" Air Transport Agreement. With a power of veto the position taken by the UK Transport Minister will be key. The German Minister chairing the meeting is reported by Reuters to be optimistic that a deal can be reached.

UK media reports in the Daily Mail and on Reuters suggest that the United Kingdom will not oppose the deal but has been seeking a one-year extension of the restrictions on access to London Heathrow. Why? This would be to allow British Airways to consolidate all its Heathrow operations in the new Terminal Five, due to open in March 2008, before facing new competition.

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