Air Transport World


Richard Branson's highly public campaign to be permitted to establish an airline in the U.S. finally may be bearing fruit in terms of causing U.S. officials to question long-held positions on cabotage and foreign-ownership limits.

Perhaps anticipating Branson's Sept. 24 offer to spend $250 million to launch a domestic U.S. version of Virgin Express, a senior U.S. official on Sept. 23 called for a new look at issues such as cabotage and foreign-investment restrictions in U.S. airlines.

The official, Charles Hunnicutt, DOT Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, also suggested the time had come for a "review of restrictions that may prohibit airlines from establishing bases in each other's territories for services to third countries [Seventh Freedom rights]," as well as "restrictions on government travel on airlines of another country. …

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