Azara Blog: "Open skies" agreement comes into effect

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Date published: 2008/03/30

The BBC says:

The long-awaited "open skies" agreement between the US and European Union is coming into effect, aiming to open up trans-Atlantic air travel.

The deal ends limits on which airlines can fly between the US and EU, and it is expected to lead to a large rise in the number of carriers on the routes.

However, changes at big airports such as Heathrow will be minimised by the limited availability of take-off slots.

New trans-Atlantic services are likely to use smaller airports instead.

Irish low-cost airline Ryanair has already declared an interest in flying to North America.

It will be interesting to see what happens. In theory, in the short run we should have more competition, which means lower prices (and it's amazing the BBC does not quote the usual suspects complaining that this will mean the end of the world). But the Ryanair business model does not obviously extend to trans-Atlantic flights. For example, given the length of the flights, they will not be able to squeeze much more in the way of turn-around than any other airline. Of course they do have the advantage of not having to operate from Heathrow, and with a full list of destinations to Europe from both Luton and Stansted (both from Ryanair and other airlines), we might find more passengers willing to abandon the substandard conditions at Heathrow, in spite of its alleged importance as a hub.

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