Welcome Remarks for U.S.-Ukraine Open Skies Signing Ceremony
Catherine A. Novelli
Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment
July 14, 2015
I wish to welcome Minister Pyvovarsky and our Ukrainian friends to this happy and important occasion. We are gathered here today to sign the U.S.-Ukraine Open Skies Agreement in the historic Treaty Room where the United States has formalized many important international agreements with friends and allies from around the world.
This agreement is a tangible example of the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation between the United States and Ukraine. It strengthens our bilateral economic ties and facilitates the growth of civil aviation between our two countries.
And fostering closer ties and economic growth is exactly what Open Skies agreements are meant to do. Since 1992, the United States has entered into almost 120 bilateral Open Skies agreements.
Over two decades, these agreements have vastly expanded passenger and cargo flights to and from the United States, promoted increased travel and trade, enhanced productivity, and spurred high-quality job opportunities and economic growth for both the United States and our foreign partners.
A study released by the Brookings Institution this March estimated that U.S. Open Skies agreements have generated at least $4 billion in annual gains to both American and foreign travelers. These agreements also produce countless new cultural links worldwide.
Open Skies agreements work because they eliminate government interference in the commercial decisions of air carriers about routes, capacity, and pricing: this allows carriers to provide more affordable, convenient, and efficient air service.
By allowing air carriers unlimited access to partner countries, Open Skies agreements also provide flexibility for alliance partners while supporting high standards for aviation safety and security.
Finally, Open Skies agreements facilitate code-sharing and other cooperative relationships between carriers. For example, any Ukrainian carrier can now establish code-sharing alliances with any U.S. or third-country carrier to any point in the United States.
I am honored to represent my government today in building closer ties and economic partnership with the Ukrainian government and people through the U.S.-Ukraine Open Skies Agreement.