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As U.K. Balks, EU Body Mulls Vote on Open Skies

March 8, 2007 By: Dan Butcher Travel Agent

The EU and the U.S. agreed last week on a draft deal to free up air travel across the Atlantic, allowing each other's airlines to fly from any city in Europe to any city in the U.S. and vice versa, but U.K. opposition to a proposed trans-Atlantic treaty has emerged as a major stumbling block. Although the U.S. has remained adamant in its refusal to allow EU airlines to fly domestic routes or own more than 25 percent of the voting capital of a U.S. airline, EU Transportation Commissioner Jacques Barrot insisted the deal remains worthwhile. Within five years, an additional 26 million passengers could take trans-Atlantic flights, the EU estimates. The cost of tickets could decrease and increased competition could create about 80,000 jobs, spread more or less equally between the U.S. and the EU, his office estimates. The European Commission said it might resort to a simple majority vote to conclude a trans-Atlantic open-skies deal with the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports.

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