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Air Service Agreements

Overview

The Office of International Aviation and the U.S. Department of State negotiate bilateral and multilateral air service agreements with the United States’ foreign aviation partners.  Such agreements provide the basis for airlines of the countries involved to provide international air services for passengers, cargo and mail.  Through air service agreements, the United States develops a procompetitive operating environment for U.S. airline services between the United States and foreign countries. For information regarding specific air service agreements, please contact us.

Air Service Agreements

Since 1992, the Department has pursued an “open-skies” policy designed to eliminate government involvement in airline decision-making about routes, capacity, and pricing in international markets.  Open-Skies agreements also contain provisions governing commercial opportunities, safety, and security.  The United States has negotiated open-skies agreements with more than 100 aviation partners. 

On May 1, 2001, the United States and Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore signed a multilateral Open-Skies agreement, called the Multilateral Agreement on the Liberalization of International Air Transportation (MALIAT).  The Department continues to urge our aviation partners to accede to the MALIAT as an effective way to reach Open Skies with multiple partners.

Air Services Coverage in Trade Agreements

For the most part, air services are excluded from U.S. trade agreements. When air services are included, they scope of coverage is very limited.  In these instances, the Office of International Aviation works with the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the Department of State to ensure that such provisions are consistent with U.S. aviation policy.  

In the General Agreement on Tariffs in Services (GATS), the annex on air transport explicitly limits coverage of air services to only aircraft repair and maintenance, computer reservation systems, and selling and marketing of air transportation. Under our bilateral and multilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s), coverage of air services is limited to aircraft repair and maintenance and specialty air services. For further information, please contact us.

Updated: Friday, October 26, 2012