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Mar 19, 2007

U.K. seeks delay in opening Heathrow to competition The U.K. wants new trans-Atlantic competition at London's Heathrow Airport to be delayed by one year under a new open skies agreement. EU transport ministers are scheduled to decide on the agreement on March 22. U.K. officials say they are negotiating with other EU members and with the U.S. However, a U.S. official said the agreement was negotiated as one package and talks are now at an end. Mar 15, 2007

Open skies facing challenge in Congress: Plans to forge a new trans-Atlantic aviation pact suffered problems Wednesday with bipartisan opposition in Congress. Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., head of the House transportation committee, questioned what U.S. negotiators had offered to their EU counterparts. Mar 15, 2007

FAA urges Congress to reform funding The FAA is asking lawmakers to reform the way the agency is funded and allow it to borrow money. FAA officials say the agency will need up to $22 billion through 2025 to transition to a satellite-based air traffic control system. "It's my firm belief that our status quo financing structure cannot deliver the NextGen system we need, when and where we need it," FAA Administrator Marion Blakey told Congress on Wednesday. Mar 15, 2007

European Commission VP-Transport Jacques Barrot told the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday that the draft open skies agreement is "more balanced in favor of Europe" than the former deal that was rejected by the EU transport ministers in November 2005 and that it contains terms forcing the US to return to the negotiating table for a second stage of talks. Barrot said "detractors" who "say there will never be a second phase because the US has won out on the first stage" are incorrect. The EU obtained, he told MEPs, a mechanism that inevitably will lead to a second stage. "We're going to start negotiations on phase two in January 2008 at the latest. If there's no second-stage agreement between now and mid-2010, we can suspend elements of the accord." Mar 14, 2007

U.K. likely to approve open skies, EU to seek better next-phase deal Europe and the U.S. will start negotiating the second stage of the open skies agreement next year, EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said Tuesday. He said if no second-stage agreement is reached by mid-2010, Europe can suspend its side of the agreement. Meanwhile, Britain's transport secretary said Britain is now likely to approve the open skies pact, despite...

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