The U.S. and Colombia signed a new Open Skies air transport agreement that will increase the number of passenger and cargo flights between the two countries and boost competition in the aviation market.
U.S. Under Secretary of State William Burns and Colombia’s Foreign Minister Angela Holguin signed an accord in Bogota Tuesday that would increase the number of companies in the Colombian market by the end of 2012 and boost competition for carriers like Avianca Taca Holding SA, owner of Colombia’s biggest airline by sales.
“The Agreement will strengthen and expand our already strong trade and tourism links with Colombia, benefiting U.S. and Colombian businesses and travelers by expanding air service and encouraging vigorous price competition by airlines, while safeguarding aviation safety and security,” according to an e- mailed statement from the U.S. State Department.
Open Skies agreements increase employment and economic growth by removing government interference in decisions about routes and pricing, “freeing carriers to provide more affordable, convenient, and efficient air service,” the State Department said on its website.
Avianca Taca plans to use $260 million raised from an initial public offering to help fend off expansion by Chile’s Lan Airlines, Chief Executive Officer Fabio Villegas said in an interview on May 6.