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U.S.-U.K. Aviation Talks To Resume

April 21, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Informal talks aimed at restarting formal negotiations over a new aviation agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom will begin next month.

Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater and British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott reached the agreement during a meeting in Washington on Tuesday. It was announced today.

In a joint statement, Slater and Prescott said they hope ``that such talks would lead to formal discussions in June.″

Negotiations over an ``open skies″ deal between the two allies collapsed last fall after only three days of meetings.

Under the current aviation treaty, known as Bermuda II, only two U.S. carriers _ American Airlines and United Airlines _ are allowed to fly into London’s Heathrow Airport. The airport is especially popular with business travelers because it offers the most connections to international points.

Under an open skies deal, an unlimited number of carriers could serve any U.S. or British airport. U.S. officials believe that added access to Heathrow would drive down airfares and give customers more flight selections.

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