The United States and the European Union have signed an open skies agreement that makes it easier for airlines to buy one another.
This is the second open skies agreement between the two governments. The first open skies agreement took effect in 2008 and opened up transatlantic routes to all carriers. Previously some routes were limited to specific carriers.
This new agreement will allow foreign owners to have a majority stake in an airline. Until now, European airlines could only own 25% of a US carrier, and US airlines could only own 49.9% of a European airline. The new limits have yet to be set and the move still has to be approved by Congress.
The deal also equalizes rules on emissions, fuel, and noise, and establishes a closer cooperation with the carbon trading scheme. European airlines will also now be able to fly in and out of the U.S. without first landing or taking off in the EU. Expect more services to non-EU destinations by EU airlines in the near future.