DOT Rescinds Foreign Ownership Plan, Closing Skies - Business Travel News

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DOT Rescinds Foreign Ownership Plan, Closing Skies

December 05, 2006 - 12:00 AM ET

The U.S. Department of Transportation today said it is withdrawing its proposal to change rules that would allow foreign owners greater involvement in U.S. airline operations and would advance Open Skies talks with the European Union.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said the U.S. is not scrapping a potential agreement altogether, but that in its current form, "It was clear from reviewing the comments that the Department needs to do more to inform the public, labor groups and Congress about the benefits of allowing more international investment. We need a stronger national consensus about the best means of achieving that objective," said Peters, who was sworn in as the 16th Secretary of Transportation on Oct. 4.

The proposal, issued in November 2005 and amended earlier this year, would have enabled international investors to give more input into the marketing, routing and fleet structures of U.S. carriers, "while retaining current domestic ownership and labor protections," DOT said in a statement.

Peters said, "today's announcement in no way deters us from our goal of giving U.S airlines complete access to the world's capital markets," and that DOT would reach out to Congress and the aviation industry "to find new ways to make it easier for airlines to raise money from global investors" and to seek an Open Skies agreement with the European Union.

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