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Published on Friday, July 7, 2006

No limit on flights between OZ and Britain

You may have already heard this hot news, but in case you have not, we thought that we would send you a breaking news update as this is without doubt the most significant aviation development ever on the kangaroo route.

Airlines will be free to fly as often as they want between Australia and the United Kingdom under a new deal announced yesterday which comes into effect immediately. 

Transport Minister Warren Truss said under the agreement there would be no limit for Australian or British passenger or cargo airlines on flights between the two countries.

There would also be no limits on code-sharing arrangements.

"This new agreement is an important step in meeting both countries' commitment to a fully-open aviation environment," he said.

"Australian and UK carriers can now freely determine the number of services operated between our two countries."

Previously there had been a limit of 28 services per week for Qantas flights into the UK. British Airways operates 14 services a week, while Virgin Atlantic operates seven.

There had also been a ban on Australian airlines flying to the UK via China, Japan and the US or any services beyond Britain, other than to three points in Europe.

Under the new agreement, the ban on going via China or the US will remain.

However, the ban on points beyond Europe will go.

Truss said Australian airlines now had much more flexibility to serve European markets.

"This is a major step forward towards a fully-liberalised open skies agreement between Australia and the UK," he said.

"Both parties have agreed that we should continue to work together towards a fully-open aviation market, either bilaterally or as part of a comprehensive air services agreement between Australia and the European Union."

The new agreement comes into operation immediately.

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  • Can we monitor the progress here?

    Attention agents in both the UK and Australia: Could you post changes in the fare levels here as you notice them? We in other areas don't see them, especially the consolidator fares which we are not allowed to sell, especially those offered by Aussie companies like Concorde Travel and Metro, and the British ones that will only deal with ABTA members. The changes in the fare levels could be interesting. I'm in YVR and feel very much out of the loop. The importance from here would be in constructing do-it-yourself RTWs if the level of 1-way fares goes down. Here in Canada, we can sell any RTW for the same price as it is sold at the point of origin unless specifically banned in the rules [and are perhaps the only country that is allowed to do this]. Helping to bring transparency to the world market can be good for all of us.

    By David Smith, Monday, July 10, 2006

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