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Hurdles Still Ahead For "Open Skies"

U.S. and European Union negotiators on Nov. 18 agreed on a plan to give airlines on both continents far greater flexibility in flying transatlantic routes originating outside their home countries. But the "open-skies" agreement wouldn't take effect unless it is approved by all 25 EU members. Although favored by most U.S. and European carriers, the plan faces British opposition because it would lift restrictions that make it difficult for non-British airlines to get landing slots at London's Heathrow. And EU officials want the U.S. to relax curbs on foreign ownership of U.S. airlines. The Transportation Dept. recently offered to allow foreign investors a 49% voting stake in U.S. carriers, up from 25%. But the proposal faces congressional opposition.

EDITED BY Edited by Rose Brady

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