US and Australia Agree to Open Skies

US and Australia Agree to Open Skies

You might find flight frequency increase and fares to Australia decrease when a new “open skies” agreement between the U.S. and Australia goes into effect. The agreement will eliminate restrictions limiting the number of routes and carriers that can fly between the two countries, paving the way for more carriers to begin service on the transpacific route and giving you more options when redeeming frequent flyer miles on flights to Australia.

Pending formal approval from the U.S. and Australian governments, a Department of Transport statement said that under the new agreement, “airlines from both countries will be allowed to select routes and destinations based on consumer demand, without limitations on the number of U.S. or Australian carriers that can fly between the two countries or the number of flights they can operate.” United Airlines and Qantas Airways are the only passenger airlines currently flying between Australia and the continental U.S. and the agreement will allow other carriers to enter the transpacific market, such as Virgin Blue who has requested approval from the U.S. Transportation Department to begin service in late 2008. The agreement only applies to U.S. and Australian carriers, so you won’t see Singapore Airlines providing flights, despite its request to fly the transpacific corridor.

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