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WASHINGTON, DC: May 14, 2018. Newly-appointed US secretary of State Mike Pompeo and UAE Foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan have confirmed a new aviation agreement that maintains an Open Skies framework the US has with 120 countries.

Pompeo said all rights and provisions of the 2002 air transport agreement between the two governments would “remain in force”. The UAE Foreign minister added: “On a bilateral level, I think we’ve done an amazing job in the last couple of months on aviation.”

UAE USBoth governments acknowledged Emirates Group and US airlines covered by the agreement continue to publish financial reports based on internationally recognized accounting standards and that Etihad Airways “intends to do so upon completion of its restructuring and reorganization”.

The U.S. Airlines for Open Skies coalition, representing FedEx, Atlas Air Worldwide, Jet Blue and Hawaiian Airlines, said the resolution “was a clear victory for American workers, travellers and exporters, and reaffirms the US commitment to Open Skies. Today’s announcement will allow all sectors of commercial aviation to grow stronger than ever and upholds America’s leading role in global aviation.”

The group said the new accord, and one reached in January with Qatar, ends a long lobbying effort by the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies - representing Delta, United and American - to reopen US Open Skies agreements with both countries in a bid to limit their airlines’ access to the United States.

According to the three-airline group quoting Trump assistant director of Trade and Industrial Policy Peter Navarro, the new accord puts “a freeze on any additional Fifth Freedom passenger flights to the US". Emirates currently operates such flights between Milan and Athens to the New York area.

The UAE subsequently contradicted Navarro's 5th Freedom comment noting: "All current and future rights for both countries’ carriers to fly all flights, including Fifth Freedom flights, remain in place as an outcome of the discussions. Airlines in both countries are free to continue to add, reduce or adjust flights and services consistent with the broad provisions of the 2002 ATA. These rights allow US and UAE airlines to operate services to the other via third counties."

Since 1992 the US has pursued an Open Skies policy designed to eliminate government involvement in airline decision-making about routes, capacity and pricing in international markets.

As a result the rapid expansion of passenger and cargo flights has led to increased travel and trade, enhanced productivity, high-quality job opportunities and economic growth, according to the US State Department.

(Pictured left to right: UAE Foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.)

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