U.S. raises safety mandate for airlines' global partners
December 7, 1999
Web posted at: 2:09 p.m. EST (1909 GMT)
From staff and wire reports
CHICAGO (CNN) -- The U.S. government is mandating stricter passenger-safety requirements for international airlines that have "code-sharing" partnerships with carriers based in the United States.
If a non-U.S. carrier fails to meet the safety requirements, a code-sharing agreement will not be allowed, federal aviation officials announced at a global aviation conference in Chicago Monday.
The new safety standards are the government's response to
the proliferation of code-sharing arrangements, under which
passengers who book flights with one airline may actually
fly on a jet operated by another airline in partnership
with the booking airline.
The purpose of code sharing is to make traveling seamless
for passengers taking more than one flight to an
international destination. Code-sharing deals between U.S.
and international carriers have tripled in the past five
years as U.S. airlines have sought to expand their
businesses without the cost of adding to their fleets.
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The safety guidelines, some still being formulated in
discussions with airlines, will require that U.S. carriers
conduct regular audits of their international partners to
assess their training, maintenance and other practices.
Seeking more than 'minimum standard'
Any carrier flying to the United States already must meet
standards established by the International Civil Aviation
Organization, the U.N.'s aviation arm.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater said the new
federal requirements reflect a wish to implement "the
highest common denominator, rather than just having a
Both he and Jane Garvey, administrator of the Federal
Aviation Administration, who announced the new standards
jointly, said the guidelines should lead to increased
aviation safety around the world.
Garvey said the standards should be put into effect "within
a relatively short period of time."
The U.S. airlines' audits of their partners would not be
public, but the Transportation Department's reviews of them
Push for international treaty
The aviation conference, attended by representatives of 93
nations, marks U.S. officials' effort to secure an
international treaty governing the skies. A treaty would
stimulate world trade and give the flying public more
choices and cheaper fares, U.S. officials said.
Currently, international aviation is governed by a network
of bilateral agreements, or "open-skies" accords, that lay
out what carriers have landing rights in which countries
The aviation conference marks U.S. officials' effort to
secure an international treaty governing the skies.
This is a follow-up effort -- more than half a century
after U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt made a failed
push for such an accord at the last world aviation
conference, held in Chicago in 1944.
In a separate announcement, U.S. officials said they had
signed aviation agreements with Italy and Argentina that
will permit freer air traffic between the United States and
Correspondent Gary Tuchman and The Associated Press
contributed to this report.