Experts say the year-old Open Skies agreement that liberalized flying between the U.S. and Europe has proven to be a boon to both consumers and airline companies. Carriers have been able to cut costs, while passengers have seen prices drop on trans-Atlantic routes. "There's no question that Open Skies has benefited consumers via new market entry, and the antitrust-immune partnerships have inaugurated nonstop services that no single carrier would risk," says industry consultant Robert Mann. In Phase Two discussions, Europe is pressing for an easing of foreign ownership rules as well as the right to operate U.S. routes as an extension of international service.

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