News New agreement to see more flights to Australia

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New agreement to see more flights to Australia

New agreement to see more flights to Australia

Passengers could soon see an increase in the number of airlines offering flights to Australia after a new international aviation agreement was announced.

The European Union (EU) has signed a deal with the Australian government to allow European carriers the opportunity to offer flights from any EU member state to Australia.

This removes previous nationality restrictions on flights to Australia and is a significant step in widening the EU-Australia travel market, which was first suggested by the European Commission in 2005.

"I welcome this important step in the EU’s air transport relations with Australia," said Jacques Barrot, the EU’s vice president of transport. "This will pave the way for a comprehensive aviation agreement involving cooperation in key aviation areas such as competition, safety and the environment."

Some four million airline passengers fly from the EU to Australia each year, with services from European cities to popular destinations Down Under currently operated by British Airways, Singapore Airlines and Qantas, among others.

The impact of the Open Skies US-Australia agreement which was announced in February has yet to be seen but the Open Skies pact between the EU and the US has led to an increase in transatlantic flights and at least one new airline.

Named after the agreement, OpenSkies, a subsidiary of British Airways will operate flights between New York and destinations in mainland Europe, with Paris expected to be the first service.