Air Transport World

Open south, open north? (Regional Airline Association meeting)

Liberalized transborder service into Mexico and open-skies negotiations with Canada highlight RAA's low-key fall meeting.

Phoenix-Optimum weather conditions in this desert wonderland made the near news drought at the Regional Airline Association's (RAA) fall meeting easier to take. Nevertheless, among some noteworthy items were the association's endorsement of an open-skies policy between the U.S. and Canada but a lack of support for cabotage.

"While there was overwhelming support for an open-skies policy, there was some resistance by board members relating to the issue of cabotage," outgoing RAA Chairman Larry Risley, president of Mesa Airlines, said following the back-to-back board and Presidents' Council meetings held on the first day. "Some members didn't want Canadian airlines flying over their bread-and-butter routes."

On a personal note, Horizon Air President John Kelly, who replaces Risley as board chairman, would like to see some immediate relief for his carrier, because open-skies negotiations are expected to take months. For instance, he would like to see the city-size restriction lifted. Currently, U.S. regional carriers operating on transborder routes are allowed to serve only medium-sized and small Canadian cities. Kelly also would like the seat limit for commuter aircraft liberalized, in order that his 65-seat Fokker F28s could operate on transborder routes. …

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