The European Union and the US are to resume formal negotiations on Monday in Brussels on liberalising transatlantic air services 15 months after the last talks were halted by objections from EU ministers.
The resumption was agreed in a telephone call on Tuesday between Jacques Barrot, European transport commissioner, and Norman Mineta, US transportation secretary.
Objections from the UK helped to block a deal last year, that had been negotiated by Washington and the European Commission, but London indicated last week strong backing for a resumption of talks.
The UK currently holds the EU presidency and Alistair Darling, UK transport secretary, said last week that EU ministers had been unanimous in supporting “a prompt resumption” of talks in the belief that conditions were “in place” for a deal that would be of “substantial mutual benefit.”
Mr Darling also opened the way for any deal to be “staged,” which crucially would leave the US government time to seek support in Congress in later years for the most controversial reforms, including changes in rules blocking foreign ownership of airlines.
Get alerts on Front page when a new story is published