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United States and Thailand sign open-skies aviation agreement

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta and Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Kantathi Suphamongkhon…

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta and Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Kantathi Suphamongkhon today signed an Open-Skies aviation agreement that will strengthen ties between the two countries by enabling U.S. and Thai airlines to offer more flights at lower fares. With this agreement, Thailand becomes the 71st U.S. Open-Skies partner.

The agreement, finalized in Washington on Sept. 9, follows an April 2005 meeting between U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta and Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in Bangkok. The Secretary and Prime Minister expressed the desire at that time to conclude a comprehensive Open-Skies agreement within six months of their meeting. Prime Minister Thaksin also attended today`s signing ceremony.

This agreement fulfills the commitment that Prime Minister Thaksin and I made at our meeting last April — to remove the remaining barriers to aviation services between the United States and Thailand, Secretary Mineta said. Open Skies between the United States and Thailand paves the way for better, more frequent and more affordable air transportation between our countries.

In September 2003 the United States and Thailand reached agreement to remove restrictions on all-cargo services between and beyond the two countries. The new agreement also lifts restrictions on passenger services, allowing airlines from both countries to select routes and destinations based on consumer demand, without limits on the number of carriers, flights, or cities that can be served.

The agreement provides for a five-year transition to Open Skies for pricing and for some services beyond the other country. All other Open-Skies provisions will take effect immediately.

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