U.S., EU agree to extend open skies accord

Following eight rounds of negotiations, representatives from the U.S. and EU on Thursday agreed to a framework for extending an open skies treaty that could eventually allow increased foreign ownership of U.S. airlines. The new agreement means the EU will not roll back the original open skies reforms that gave U.S. carriers greater access to European markets, a breakthrough that was greeted with praise from the Air Transport Association. But some in Europe were less enthusiastic because raising foreign ownership limits will require U.S. congressional action, something that appears unlikely in the current political environment. The accord also strengthens security and regulatory cooperation between the two markets, reduces some restrictions on nighttime operations at European airports and allows European carriers to operate direct flights between the U.S. and non-EU countries.

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