Monday, June 4, 2007

New U.S.-China Aviation Agreement and Other News

New U.S.-China Aviation Agreement

A useful summary of the service opportunities that will be made available by the new U.S.-China aviation agreement (reached on May 23 in Washington D.C.) is contained in a recent Aviation Week article.  Notable features of the agreement include:

-  an increase in daily flight opportunities to China by U.S. carriers to 23 by 2012 (from 10 daily to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou at present);

-  the intent to resume open skies talks in 2010;

-  the number of U.S. passenger carriers that may serve the Chinese market will increase from six to nine by 2011;

-  and the agreement will essentially provide open skies for air cargo by 2011.

The press release by the U.S. DOT announcing the agreement can be accessed by clicking here.  The Chicago Tribune also recently ran an article containing speculation about which carriers might benefit or be harmed by the new agreement.

Ryanair-Aer Lingus Merger

According to a Reuters report last week, the full European Commission now has before it a draft recommendation from DG-COMP to block the Ryanair-Aer Lingus merger.  The recommended decision reportedly runs over 300 pages and could be only the twentieth rejection of a merger proposal by the Commission of the over 3,000 cases that have been considered since 1990.  A final decision is expected by the beginning of July.

Environmental Impact of Aviation

Two different news reports show the variety of ways that airlines are grappling with the public relations aspects of the environmental impact of aviation.  An article this past Saturday in The Guardian discusses the outrage by environmental activists after Ryanair's launch of London-Stansted to Brussels service to compete with Eurostar trains.  A Bloomberg report mentions that a number of airlines have given passengers the option of paying a fee to offset the the carbon dioxide emissions from their trip and notes that environmental issues are at the forefront of this week's IATA annual general meeting.  Click here for IATA head Giovanni Bisignani's speech today which discusses IATA's views on how airlines can shape the debate about the environmental impacts of aviation.

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