Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the U.S. Open Skies Policy and 10th Anniversary of the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 10, 2017

Today the United States and the European Union (EU) mark the 25th anniversary of the first U.S. Open Skies agreement, with the Netherlands and the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-European Union Open Skies Agreement. These landmark achievements – and 25 years of the overall U.S. Open Skies policy – have benefited the civil aviation markets of the United States and Europe, and have contributed a market-based international aviation system that minimizes government intervention and facilitates opportunities for increasing travel, commercial and business exchanges, investment and trade, and tourism.

To commemorate these achievements, the Department of State is hosting an event entitled “Celebrating Aviation Milestones in 2017: Open Skies: 25 years and U.S.-EU Open Skies – 10 years Promoting International Travel, Trade and Connectivity” for U.S. government and European Commission officials, U.S. and European industry representatives, academics, and aviation experts. Keynote speakers include Ambassador Patricia Haslach, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs; Henrik Hololei, Director-General for Mobility and Transport, European Commission; and Jeffrey Shane, General Counsel, International Air Transport Association. Ambassador Henne Schuwer of the Embassy of the Netherlands to the United States will give closing remarks.

Since 1992, the United States has reached 121 Open Skies agreements with partners across six continents. Open Skies removes limits on the number of airlines permitted to provide service or frequencies. Airlines are free to make business decisions regarding fares, destinations, and type of service on the basis of commercial considerations, without government interference. Open Skies agreements also cover cargo service, as reliable international air links are vital for facilitating commerce. Growth in aviation benefits the national economy and deepens integration with the world economy.

The 2007 U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement is one of the world’s most important bilateral air transport deals. The Agreement has increased competition, connectivity, and service options within the transatlantic market, which previously was subject to significant restrictions under previous bilateral agreements.