Interesting story in the FT on the status of UK-US open skies talks.
Although the talks are said to have ended for now, there will be no option but for them to recommence in due course; this is to ensure that aviation traffic rights, as much as possible, replicate current arrangements, continue to be available between the UK and the US on Brexit day, or, on the basis of certain assumptions, at the end of a post-Brexit transitional period.
A new open skies agreement with the US, and indeed, others, would be necessary as a consequence of the UK leaving the EU and its internal aviation market. While access to the latter may in fact be maintained by the UK joining the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) – an option which is merely theoretical for a number of reasons, membership of the ECAA will not provide UK airlines with automatic access to the open skies agreements which the EU and/or its Member States have agreed with third countries, such as the US.
The US is offering Britain a worse “Open Skies” deal after Brexit than it had as an EU member, in a negotiating stance that would badly hit the transatlantic operating rights of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. British and American negotiators secretly met in January for the first formal talks on a new air services deal, aiming to fill the gap created when Britain falls out of the EU-US open skies treaty after Brexit, according to people familiar with talks. The talks were cut short after US negotiators offered only a standard bilateral agreement. These typically require airlines to be majority owned and controlled by parties from their country of origin.