Monday, November 15, 2010

Freeing Up Of Air Freight Routes Despite US Security Concerns

DoT Secretary Welcomes Colombia as Open Skies Partner
Shipping News Feature

US – COLOMBIA – Last week U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood welcomed Colombia as the United States’ 100th Open-Skies partner when representatives of the two countries reached agreement to liberalize U.S.-Colombia airfreight and passenger services for the airlines of both countries. Once full Open Skies takes effect at the end of 2012, airlines from the United States and Colombia will be allowed to select routes, destinations and prices for both passenger and cargo service based on consumer demand and market conditions.

Secretary La Hood commented:

“Reaching 100 Open-Skies agreements is a major milestone in U.S. aviation history. Since the first Open-Skies agreement was reached with the Netherlands in 1992, nations all over the world have come to recognize the benefits of a free market in international aviation services. Travellers, shippers, airlines and economies all over the world have benefited from the competitive pricing and more convenient service that Open Skies have made possible.”

Significant liberalizations will take effect in advance of full Open Skies. When the terms of the agreement are applied, restrictions on all-cargo flights will be lifted immediately, and carriers will be able to begin operating additional passenger flights with additional passenger services phased in over the next two years. Negotiations were concluded on the 11th November at a meeting in Bogota, Colombia.

It is encouraging to know that the recent incidents involving terrorist activity has not dimmed the intentions of the US to ensure that free and fair trade is unaffected by security concerns. In the past few weeks the Handy Shipping Guide has been asked to comment on the security situation by many other international publications. Having spoken with many industry insiders regarding current precautions we can assure readers that, in every case, freight forwarding companies, air cargo carriers and governments alike are more devoted than ever to ensuring that security levels are maintained and improved.