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Open Skies agreements entered into between governments around the world and associated benefits are under pressure by airlines that seek to prevent new foreign carrier competition in their countries. In particular, U.S. carriers successfully fought for antitrust immunized global alliances and for a consolidated domestic airline industry. Open Skies agreements anticipated such an evolution of the competitive structure and were so designed to ensure foreign and domestic carrier new entry and robust competition to protect consumers. Open Skies was thus carefully designed by policy makers as the needed antidote to replace the competition lost when two carriers that had previously competed against one another head-to-head combined to operate as one under an immunized alliance.

Now that airlines have what they want, including steadily rising airfares and ancillary fees, and unprecedented profits, some seek to close off the U.S. to competition from foreign carriers. If U.S. airlines continue to seek commercial protectionism through changes to Open Skies agreements, the U.S. government needs to remind them that their immunized alliances might be at risk. It’s no doubt time for a fresh look at the public-policy benefits of antitrust immunization. As such, BTC has formed OpenSkies.Travel as a broad coalition of global stakeholders to review and promote Open Skies policies. (See Founding Members nearby.) Please find information on this site that helps illuminate this important issue.

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