Air travel across the pond is set for a major shake-up. After decades of dominance by European national airlines and a handful of American carriers on lucrative transatlantic routes, the U.S. and the European Union signed the so-called Open Skies Agreement in April to unshackle air travel. Among other things, the agreement will make it possible for, say, a Spanish airline to shuttle passengers from Britain to the U.S., or for American carriers to drop off passengers in one European country, then pick up more and relay them to another destination.
Now, at last, the reverberations from the agreement, which takes full effect in March, 2008, are starting to be felt. On Oct. 17, Delta Airlines and Air France-KLM announced a landmark deal to share costs and revenues on transatlantic routes. Under the agreement, Air France will give three of its slots at London’s Heathrow airport—Europe’s most important hub to the U.S.—to Delta to use for flights to New York and Atlanta. The French carrier also will start a new service between London and Los Angeles.