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Aviation: USA

Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what scope there is for (a) reciprocity and (b) access to cabotage in the current aviation negotiations with the US air authorities. (126333)

Discussions have been taking place between the EU and the United States since 2003 on a comprehensive aviation treaty. Following the latest round of negotiations, a revised draft of a possible first stage agreement will be discussed at the EU Council of Transport Ministers on 22 March. The draft agreement as it stands provides a range of traffic and other rights to the airlines of both sides. A number of these would be granted on a reciprocal basis, though some limited rights would be granted to EU carriers only during the first stage. It does not include cabotage rights for the airlines of either side during the first stage.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect on the cost of flights between the UK and the US likely to arise from the draft Open Skies aviation agreement reached between the EU and the US; and if he will make a statement. (126897)

The level of air fares is a commercial matter for the airlines concerned. However, certain air fares from London Heathrow to the US are currently higher than those from equivalent hubs in other European countries which already have an open skies relationship with the US.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the level of (a) flights, (b) passengers, (c) noise pollution, (d) carbon emissions and (e) global warming of the draft Open Skies aviation agreement reached between the EU and the US; and if he will make a statement. (126898)

The Government considers that the best way to tackle the environmental impacts of aviation is through the programme of measures it is pursuing including the addition of aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme, promoting technological developments and working closely with operators to make improvements through operational changes.

This is a strategic environmental approach which is not dependent on negotiations on individual bilateral air service agreements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of the draft Open Skies aviation agreement reached between the EU and the US on the ability of the UK and EU to develop legislation on (a) air pollution, (b) greenhouse gas emissions and (c) noise pollution; and if he will make a statement. (126900)

The proposed agreement does not affect the existing ability of the UK or the EU to take additional legislative measures to deal with the impact of aviation on the environment.