FT reports talks between UK and US on Open Skies after Brexit face difficulties

British and American negotiators secretly met in January for the first formal talks on a new air services deal, for after Brexit. When the UK leaves the EU it will no longer be part of the EU-US open skies treaty. The FT reports that the talks were cut short after US negotiators offered a far worse “Open Skies” deal, which is only a standard bilateral agreement. These typically require airlines to be majority owned and controlled by parties from their country of origin, and would hit the transatlantic operating rights of BA and Virgin badly. The limits would be difficult for these airlines, as they have large foreign shareholdings – not merely British. The FT reports that a British official said it showed “the squeeze” London will face as it tries to reconstruct its international agreements after Brexit, even with close allies such as Washington. The busy UK-US routes are profitable, and numerous, and negotiators hope a solution will be found, but it could take time and may not be done fast enough for airlines planning flights a year ahead. The Americans are increasingly against trade liberalisation, so it is not a great time to be negotiating. The FT estimates the UK must renegotiate and replace about 65 international transport agreements after Brexit. Each taking time.

UK-US Open Skies talks hit Brexit turbulence

5.3.2018 (FT)
Negotiations cut short after Washington offers worse package than EU

There are legal and political obstacles that could impede the UK and US from reaching a deal in time to give legal certainty to airlines booking flights a year in advance

By Katrina Manson in Washington, Alex Barker in Brussels and Tanya Powley in London 

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.

See full FT article at https://www.ft.com/content/9461157c-1f97-11e8-9efc-0cd3483b8b80