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U.S. Walks Out on Air Talks With Britain

October 08, 1998| Associated Press

U.S. transport officials walked out of talks aimed at forging an "open skies" agreement that would allow an unlimited number of carriers to serve any U.S. or British airport. The talks had resumed Monday in London after a break of nearly two years. It was not immediately clear when the two sides might meet again. British Transport Minister John Reid said he regretted the American walkout but added that it was "no surprise that our first formal negotiations in 1 1/2 years have not been easy." He said Britain was ready to resume discussions. One issue complicating the talks is a lucrative proposed deal between British Airways and American Airlines. Britain has said an open-skies deal depends on Washington approving the BA-American deal. But U.S. officials say there will be no approval until Britain signs off on the open-skies proposal. Under the current treaty, only two U.S. carriers, American and United Airlines, are allowed to fly into London's Heathrow, a major worldwide hub.

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