The US hopes to reach a new “open skies” agreement with China by the next round of top level talks between the two countries to be held in Washington in May, AFX-ASIA reported, citing US Secretary of TransportationMary Peters.
Speaking in Beijing last month on her fi rst trip to China as Transport Secretary, Peters was quoted as saying that she was confi dent the groundwork for a new agreement will be in place by the time of the Strategic Economic Dialogue, and that the new plan would beimplemented by the end of the year.
“We want to reach a meaningful agreement about having full and open liberalisation of aviation. I believe we can reach such an agreement by May at the next SED event, and hopefully implement the agreement by the end of the year,” Peters said.
She said the “ultimate goal” would be to reach an agreement similar to the one recently signed between the US and the European Union, which allows all EU-based airlines to fl y from any city within the EU to any city in the US, and vice-versa.
In a related development, however, China Eastern Airlines president Li Fenghua was quoted as saying by China Business News that he didn’t want Beijing to open the air transport market too fast. “The pact covering an increase of air services signed in 2004 has already exerted great pressure on us,” he said, adding that “it takes time to integrate China’s culture and service concept with international standards,” pointing out that the country’s airlines lag far behind US counterparts in many aspects including sheer size, fi nancial strength, marketing expertise and management experience.