UAE Supports Open Skies Initiative

The UAE government signed a non-binding agreement with six other states and the European Commission outlining principles to liberalize the global airline industry.  The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the agreement is aimed at boosting the airline industry which has lost US$53 billion (Dh194.66bn) over the past eight years.  It would change a 65 year old bilateral system that restricts the way airlines can do business.  For example airlines are not allowed to merge across borders because of national ownership requirements.

Director General and chief executive of IATA explained “Sixty five years ago, when airlines were divisions of the state apparatus, the bilateral system and its restrictions made sense.”    He said now these restrictions are holding airlines back.  Other previously regulated industries became more open a long time ago.  In September, IATA forecast the regions commercial airlines would lose $500 million, down from their previous forecast of $1.5 billion. 

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