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US Cargo in Europe


On 2nd March 2007 the European Commission agreed the November 2005 text of the draft EU- US Air Transport Agreement (stage 1). It was approved by all Member States at a meeting of the Transport Council on 22 March, and was signed at the EU-US summit on 30th April.

The main elements of the Agreement are:

  • Permitting EU airlines to operate to the US from any point in the EU;
  • 3rd, 4th and 5th freedoms for EU and US airlines;
  • 7th freedom flights for all-cargo services operated by EU airlines but no additional 7th freedom all-cargo rights for US airlines;
  • Liberal agreement on code-share.

Negotiations on stage 2 began on 15th May 2008 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. In 25th March 2010, negotiators concluded the discussions with the initialing of the Second Stage Agreement.

It focuses mainly on :

  • Further liberalization of traffic rights (ex: 7th freedom all-cargo rights for US airlines);
  • Additional investment and market access opportunities;
  • Strengthening the framework of cooperation in regulatory areas such as safety, security;
  • Dedicated Joint Statement on the Environment;
  • Embryonic project of social framework;

Open Skies Stage 2, Further Expansion of Opportunities, is frozen until the laws and regulations of each Party permit majority ownership and effective control of its airlines by the other Party.

Current situation

In 2012, the Belgian Cockpit Association (BeCA) has tracked packages across Europe and has demonstrated that US cargo operators (UPS and FedEx) organize on a day-to-day basis an all-cargo service throughout Europe.

However, based on the restrictions of Annex 1 Section 3 of the “Open Skies” Agreement, BeCA and ECA (European Cockpit Association) defend their interpretation that a package should not be loaded on a US registered aircraft if its origin and destination are in a Member State not in the list of the 8 countries defined in this annex.

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