But EU Approval Still On Hold
India's government has
approved a landmark deal with the United States that allows US
officials to assist in modernizing Indian airports, as the aviation
sector in that country continues to boom.
Under the agreement, the US will provide help with policies,
procedures, operations and training at airports across India. It's
similar to an agreement the US has with more than 100 countries
worldwide -- except in this case, the Indian government wants FAA
help on technical and managerial matters as well.
And speaking of other governments that have agreed to similar
"Open Skies" policies with the US, there is a notable holdout: the
European Union, whose agreement -- approved months ago -- continues
to be in a holding pattern as authorities with the EU and the US
hash out rules allowing European companies a greater say in
managing US airlines.
"It's in their hands," EU transportation spokesman Stefaan de
Rynck, told the New York Times. "We're still hoping for meaningful
As Aero-News has reported,
under current regulations foreign companies can own only 25 percent
of a US airline -- and can have little to no role in actually
running them. The Bush administration is aiming to change that,
acting on the measure unilaterally -- without approval from
However, that rule change -- and, therefore, the Open Skies
agreement -- is on hold now because of strong political opposition
here at home. Unions representing US airline workers say they want
the proposed rules rewritten to limit foreign influence on wage and
Some lawmakers also oppose the agreement, saying the Bush
administration is doing without a vote what should rightfully be
mandated by Congress.
Now, the Department of Transportation says it could be several
more weeks before the management rule change takes effect -- as the
administration reportedly waits for the political heat to die