U.S. close to aviation settlement with post-Brexit UK – sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and United Kingdom are nearing an open skies aviation settlement to control air travel after Britain exits the European Union, two government officers briefed on the matter mentioned on Tuesday.

The sides have set what they anticipate will likely be a last spherical of talks for Wednesday, the U.S. and British sources mentioned. The UK’s secretary of state for transport, Chris Grayling, plans to be in Washington later this week to signal an settlement.

A UK Department of Transport spokesperson mentioned Tuesday that “our discussions with the US about a new UK-US air service agreement have been positive and we have made significant progress. Both sides want to conclude these discussions soon.”

The division added that “all parties have a shared interest in ensuring that existing rights will continue under the new bilateral arrangements, allowing airlines on both sides of the Atlantic to continue to operate existing services as well as to seek to develop new ones.”

The U.S. Transportation Department didn’t remark.

The largest concern has been over guidelines that require airways to have substantial U.S. or UK possession.

The deal would deal with potential issues for UK airways with vital overseas possession by permitting current operations beneath the EU-U.S. settlement to proceed.

Going ahead, the settlement would require airways that change fingers to satisfy the possession necessities or get U.S. approval.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday the deal can be inferior to the UK’s rights beneath the present EU settlement, together with “tighter restrictions on ownership, tougher terms for new entrants and no special access” to a programme masking ticket gross sales to U.S. government staff.

UK-based carriers together with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Norwegian Air (NWC.OL) may very well be affected and not using a deal.

IAG (ICAG.L), the Anglo-Spanish airline group that’s the father or mother company of British Airways and Spain’s Iberia, has additionally been working to handle European Union possession points after the European Commission mentioned it may fall under EU possession necessities after Brexit.

EU possession guidelines require European airways to be majority-owned by an EU entity.

IAG didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Additional reporting by Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney and Phil Berlowitz

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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