Open Skies… what does it mean?

open skies agreement

Open Skies are up in the air for discussion again as the US and EU met in Brussels this week to re-evaluate the Open Skies agreement made three years ago between the two. Cool, but what does this mean for travellers?


What exactly is an Open Skies agreement? An Open Skies agreement basically allows unlimited access to and from the US airports and those within the European Union for all American and European airline carriers. Airlines are free to operate routes to and from freely.What the previous agreement didn’t allow for was European airline companies to own American-operating airlines.

Who wants what? The EU would like to have buying capacities of airlines operating within the USA since at present the Open Skies agreement allows any European airline and any USA airline to operate from any point in the European Union to/from any point in the USA. American airlines are also allowed to fly between two points in the EU while it is not permitted for European airlines to fly between two points in the USA. European airline companies are limited to being able to buy stakes in domestic US airlines.

EU airlines want therefore, to be able to have buying rights of domestic US airlines to be able to operate routes from Europe to the USA with an interior connecting flight without having to operate through a code-share agreement. Currently EU airline companies can purchase 25% of domestic US airlines while US airline companies can purchase up to 49% of European airlines (Reuters).

How does this affect travellers? The whole idea of the agreement is to give everyone the same advantages, to level out the playing field a bit between US and EU airline companies. Hopefully airlines, with more flexibility on routes, will be able to lower airline ticket prices in the future. The EU is also predicting many new jobs in the airline travel industry as a result of an increase in travel to Europe and travel within Europe. More routes means more choices, meaning more travellers and lower costs.

In the mean time, liligo.com will always find the cheapest airline tickets on the web when you search, so you don’t have to wait for airlines to lower the prices you just have to find the right deal at the right time. Have any opinions on the topic? Share them below in the comment box!

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  1. By Tahiti: one cheap flight to paradise, please! on November 19, 2013 at 11:29

    [...] the airline market to a third airline company would require the agreement of governments on an Open Skies Agreement.How to find the best flights to Tahiti?It’s a matter of knowing where, when and how to look when [...]

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