Congo, US sign air transport agreement

Aviation
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By ALLAN OLINGO
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The United States and the Congo Republic have signed an Open Skies Air Transport Agreement, which is expected to deepen commercial ties between them.

The agreement, signed in Washington between Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Manisha Singh, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Aviation and International Affairs Joel Szabat and Republic of the Congo Minister of Transport, Civil Aviation Marine Fidele Dimou, provides for unrestricted reciprocal market access for passenger and cargo airlines to fly between the two countries and to destinations beyond.

“The agreement commits both governments to high standards of safety and security. In doing so, the agreement will facilitate travel and commerce between the United States and the Republic of the Congo offering greater opportunities for airlines, travellers, businesses, shippers, airports, workers, and localities.

“It expands the framework of US Open Skies agreements with over 120 partners enabling US air carriers to operate and expand flight networks far beyond US’s borders and connects the US economy to growing markets abroad,” said US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert.

Congo becomes the 24th African country to have an open skies agreement with the US.

Of these, only 20 have a full bilateral air service agreement.

Within East Africa, all countries save for South Sudan have already signed this agreement with Washington, even though Burundi does not enjoy the benefits of the bilateral air service agreement.

The US has pursued an “open-skies” policy designed to eliminate government involvement in airline decision-making about routes, capacity, and pricing in international markets. The US has more than 100 aviation partners.

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