On March 7th, 2018, the Brazilian Senate approved Brazil-US Open Skies Agreement ("Agreement"), which was signed in 2011 by the former presidents Dilma Rousseff and Barack Obama. The Agreement aims to improve international air carriage between the signatory countries based on the competition among airlines companies and the guarantee of the utilisation of higher standards of operational security.
Therefore, the Agreement provides some changes in the current "Air Transport Agreement" signed by both countries in 1989. The main difference is the end of the limit of 301 (three hundred and one) weekly flights between countries. Thus, Brazilian and American-based airlines can freely define the offer of flights and routes between countries according to their commercial strategy. The end of the restriction also covers cargo flights, which is a good sign for international trade between the countries.
It is worth noting that the Agreement did not alter the rule for domestic flights in the countries, whose operation is solely executed by national carriers. In other words, Brazilian companies cannot operate domestic flights in the US, and in this sense, American companies cannot operate domestic flights in Brazil.
Article 12 of this Agreement also states that each company may set prices for air transport in accordance with commercial considerations of the market. This forecast, coupled with the end of the weekly flight limit and the possibility of codeshare operation, points to a strategy of improving the offer of routes and reducing the value of tickets, which will certainly benefit the end-user consumer.
In addition, the text addresses important issues such as operational and aviation safety and the parties undertake to act in accordance with the safety provisions established by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization).
From a legal point of view, the Agreement does not affect the sovereignty of both countries, since the text guarantees the application of local laws when entering, staying and leaving the aircraft used for international transport.
This Agreement represents an important step not only in civil aviation but also in various sectors of the economy, such as tourism and foreign trade, since airlines will have more autonomy and less state involvement. However, the text still needs presidential sanction before it can enter into effect, which should occur without major obstacles.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.