United Seeks Renewed Open Skies

United today applauded the decision of the United States government to continue its quest for an open skies agreement with the United Kingdom.

“We are disappointed that the U.K. government, backed by entrenched British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, refuses to fully liberalize the U.S.-U.K. market,” said Michael Whitaker, vice president of International and Regulatory Affairs.  “An open skies agreement in this most important transatlantic market is bound to stimulate travel and bring consumer benefits in the form of additional travel options and lower fares.  United commends the U.S. government for its relentless pursuit of an open skies agreement with the U.K.  We urge the U.S. to show a similar perseverance in negotiating an open skies agreement with one of our other major trading partners, Hong Kong.”

The current aviation agreement between the U.S. and the U.K. severely limits airline operations.  For example, United is not allowed to increase flights in the Chicago-London market and is prohibited from matching British Airways’ Denver-London services.  The agreement also prevents United’s partner airline, bmi british midland of the U.K., from initiating flights to the U.S. from its base at London’s Heathrow Airport.  An open skies agreement would remove these restrictions and create significant consumer benefits.

United Airlines and United Express operate more than 3,200 flights a day on a route network that spans the globe.  News releases and other information about United Airlines may be found at the company’s website at www.united.com.