ATW Online; Wednesday 28 August 2019
EU, US resolve dispute over wet-lease services

The European Union (EU) has agreed to remove restrictions on foreign carriers seeking to wet lease to EU-based airlines as part of an agreement signed between the US, EU, Iceland and Norway Aug. 27 in Brussels.

Announcement of the deal resolves a long-running commercial concern for US airlines that have been largely shut out of the market for wet-lease services in Europe since 2008, when the EU imposed a time limit on how long EU carriers could wet lease aircraft from non-EU carriers, prompting the US to follow suit.

The conflict over wet-lease services was contrary to a provision in the 2007 EU-US Open Skies agreement calling for an open wet-lease regime. The new US-EU agreement seeks to restore that provision.

“DOT, along with other US government agencies, took a number of steps in an effort to resolve the problem, and today’s signing represents a successful culmination of those efforts,” DOT said in a statement. “US carriers will now be able to compete fairly in the marketplace, more broadly offering their services in worldwide markets, and gaining a valuable chance to benefit from the new commercial opportunities.”

“We applaud US and EU officials for reaching an agreement to bolster the flow of commerce,” an Airlines for America spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Today’s agreement reflects the ongoing and close cooperation between the US and Europe that continues to deliver benefits to passengers, shippers, airlines and the overall economy.”

An IATA spokesperson said that “the resolution of this matter is good news for airlines and their customers, who will now not face the risk of travel disruptions.”

By: Ben Goldstein
NS Comment: This should be on the starters menu for UK airline wet-lease operators post-Brexit.