U.S. Department of Transportation Withdraws International Investment Rule
Commits to Working on Open Skies Agreement

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters today announced the Department is withdrawing a proposal that would have changed rules governing international investment in U.S. airlines after reviewing a multitude of public comments, including those received from Congress. The Secretary also re-affirmed the U.S. commitment to completing a market-opening aviation agreement with the European Union.

It was clear from reviewing the comments that the Department needs to do more to inform the public, labor groups and Congress about the benefits of allowing more international investment. We need a stronger national consensus about the best means of achieving that objective, said Peters, who was sworn in as the 16th Secretary of Transportation on October 4.

Secretary Peters noted that the original proposal, first issued by the Department in November 2005 and later amended in May 2006, would have allowed international investors more input in the marketing, routing and fleet structures of U.S. airlines while retaining current domestic ownership and labor protections.

Saying that todays announcement in no way deters us from our goal of giving U.S airlines complete access to the worlds capital markets, Secretary Peters said the Department was eager to work with Congress and the aviation industry to find new ways to make it easier for airlines to raise money from global investors.

Secretary Peters said the Department remains committed to seeking an Open Skies aviation agreement with the European Union. And while she noted the investment proposal was not directly linked to such an agreement, she acknowledged that some involved with the European negotiations had aligned the two.

Nobody doubts the benefits to travelers, airlines and our economy of making it easier to fly to and from Europe, Peters said.

The Departments notice is available at http://dms.dot.gov, docket OST-03-15759.

This release courtesy of the Department of Transportation