From 2005 September

The U.K.'s Dept. of Transportation said it will give foreign airline fifth-freedom rights for passenger service destined for regional airports throughout the country, conditioned to a "balance of benefits" that some suggest means reciprocal rights for U.K. carriers.

The CAA's white paper describes the move as "a shift in policy to an approach which favors the granting of fifth-freedom rights as opposed to the existing position where the presumption is that fifth-freedom rights should be refused. This change in policy could be applied both to the U.K.'s approach to bilateral talks and when considering ad-hoc requests for fifth-freedoms."

"The move will potentially mean more services and a greater choice of connections for passengers outside the Southeast of England. It will attract extra business to regional airports, improve access to markets and enhance the growing contribution that airports throughout the U.K. are making to their local and regional economies," said Aviation Minister Karen Buck.

Four of the seven case studies dealt with non-U.S. carriers destined for U.S. cities, including Los Angeles and Houston. "It can be expected that U.K. passenger benefits might outweigh U.K. airline losses by a factor of more than 3:1 on long-haul routes to points other than the U.S. but by a smaller factor on U.S. routes.

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