Posts: 8969
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 1999 5:49 am

The Most Important Lunch Break This Year!

Fri Jun 11, 2004 8:19 pm

Today, in Luxembourg, EU ministers will meet and (hopefully, despite the apparent opposition of some major EU carriers) agree to a new Open Skies deal between Europe and the US. There are still a few things which people aren't entirely happy with, but the Americans have given good concessions.

Frankly, of course, many of the concessions demanded of the Americans are only for the benefit of major carriers like LH, BA, AF, not the smaller ones. In any case, the concession given - which allows European carriers to effectively charter space from US carriers, seems indistinguishable from a codeshare, at least to the extent that it seems much easier to go down the c/s route.

Anyway, from an Irish perspective, I'm not terribly pushed about the whole cabotage and ownership issue. I want to see direct and unlimited access between Ireland and the US (and between the rest of Europe and the US); if this could be agreed today, so much the better. If a deal is to be struck between the EU and US, the treaty will be signed when Pres. Bush visits Ireland on the 25th June. If a deal is not agreed today, hopefully there will be intensive horse trading over the next two weeks to make a deal possible just in time for the Summit in Ireland.