Airline industry may soon see “Open Skies”

American Airlines and British Airways planes

The European Union and the USA have agreed to a new deal, Open Skies, which would allow European airlines to compete for US government business. This deal would also make it easier for both countries’ airlines to choose routes and destinations based solely on customer demand and it removes various limits that the industry has placed until now. This is a heavily regulated industry and this deal would remove some of that regulation, making it easier to compete and do business.

For air travelers, this deal is a positive move as it will allow US and European airlines to team up in order to reduce costs and streamline certain operations which should help lower travel costs for the consumer as well. Under this deal, issues like security, labor standards and policy practices will be more uniform between the US and European Union. Perhaps if this deal was in place last Christmas, that terrorist that flew from Holland to Detroit would have been detained before he boarded the plane due to streamlined security practices.

Although the two countries have agreed to this deal, the US Congress and EU Transport Ministers must still agree to it before it actually comes in to force. Currently, it does not look like a sure thing that the US Congress will pass this measure as they have rejected other measures in the airline industry in the past. For what it’s worth, many of the major airlines are in favor of this agreement. US-based, Continental Airlines issued a statement that supports the deal and other airlines have previously said they favor these types of measures.

 For those that think that this story is not very important, let me show you why it is. The combination of the United States and the European Union represents about 66% of all air travel globally. More over, it represents a further opening up of borders among nations which mean easier access to people, places and things outside of one’s home country. This is yet another, in a series of many, many steps that will eventually make it easy for someone to live in one country and work in another.

This currently occurs within Europe and within North America, but once aviation technology evolves to allow for faster air travel across oceans, we will see people living in the US and working in Europe, for example. This free movement of labor and people can only be achieved by continuing to make the types of agreements that the “Open Skies” agreement calls for.