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The Open Skies Agreement (Membership) Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill introduced by Baroness Randerson (Liberal Democrat). It had its first reading on 29 June 2017 and is scheduled to have its second reading on 26 January 2018. The Bill seeks to ensure that during its negotiations with the EU, the UK Government must have regard to the desirability of continuing to participate in the Open Skies Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America once the UK withdraws from the EU.

The US Department of State has described its ‘open skies’ agreements as policies designed to “eliminate government involvement in airline decision-making about routes, capacity, and pricing in international markets”. The US has pursued the establishment of such agreements since 1992. This followed the liberalisation of the US’s internal domestic market, enabled by its Airline Deregulation Act 1978 (which removed the regulation of fares, routes and schedules in the US domestic market).

Within the context of EU aviation agreements with the US, the Open Skies Agreement is most often used to refer to the EU-US Air Transport Agreement (hence forth also referred to as the Open Skies Agreement in this briefing). This is an agreement between the EU and the US to enable greater cooperation in aviation and greater market access. 

This Lords Library Briefing provides information on the Agreement and provides a summary of the House of Lords European Union Committee’s consideration of this issue in its report Brexit: Trade in Non-Financial Services.


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