"Open Skies" Air Travel Treaty So Far Little Help To Flyers

Ending government limits on flights between the U.S. and Europe was supposed to ignite lots of new competition and offer consumers cheaper fares across the Atlantic. Headlines heralded a "boom in trans-Atlantic travel."

The most noticeable change: a large shift by U.S. carriers of London flights to Heathrow Airport, the busiest in the world for international connections, instead of Gatwick Airport. U.S. carriers had to pay tens of millions of dollars for landing slots at Heathrow, but because Heathrow is favored strongly by business travelers, they were eager to do it.

But so far, so little. The "Open Skies" treaty that went into effect in March, freeing U.S. airlines of antiquated restrictions and allowing any European airline to fly to the U.S. from any city, not just its native country, has resulted in only a couple of new flights.

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