Don’t let US majors chip away at Open Skies
Friday, July 14, 2017

The single largest benefit to airlines and consumers that has occurred in the history of commercial air transportation began as a concept that crystallized into the US model known as Open Skies.

Twenty-five years and more than 100 agreements since the signing of that first pact between the US and the Netherlands, Open Skies has become a model around the world for air service liberalization.

The positive impact that liberalization has on aviation markets is huge and measurable. A survey by InterVistas shows that liberalization spurred a 16% growth in traffic between nations in 2016.  This percentage hike is consistent in aviation markets that are opened up, with traffic growth typically averaging 12% to 35%.

For a classic before-and-after example, look to the US-Japan market. An InterVistas case study shows that between 2000 and 2009, traffic in this market dropped 33%—by almost 5 million. After the 2010 Open Skies agreement, and despite slot constraints and a global recession, seven new nonstop routes were created, frequency increased by 60 flights per week, and traffic rebounded to its highest level in five years.

Air service liberalization stimulates markets and encourages new city pairs. It allows for innovation and new, low-cost entrants. Open Skies’ fifth and seventh freedoms allow cargo carriers to open new hubs, improve the supply chain and lower delivery costs. Liberalization allows the market to grow and creates millions of jobs.

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