Open Skies and the hotel industry

The Boston Herald’s editorial of Sunday, March 25th 2007 notes that “the transport ministers of the European Union countries unanimously have agreed to a new “open skies” treaty with the United States that would replace several bilateral agreements. In separate proceedings, Virgin Atlantic, a British carrier flying the Atlantic, has agreed to Transportation Department conditions for a subsidiary to operate between San Francisco and several U.S. cities.” The reference to Virgin’s subsidiary being finally allowed to operate goes some way to remedy a gross injustice inflicted on the British carrier for several years running whereby the US DOT refused to allow Virgin USA to take off despite the carrier complying with the severely protectionist elements of US law that essentially prevents foreign ownership of US airlines at a level greater than 25%. While that is a good in itself for the domestic airline industry given Virgin’s sterling record for service and reliability, the news of open skies going forward, even if in a diluted form, is of tremendous importance to the US hotel industry and to New York in particular. When it does get implemented in 2008, the agreement will result in significant boosts to inward travel from the EU and will have a tremendously positive impact on room night sales in the Big Apple. Now, that combined with initiatives being pushed by Mayor Bloomberg and a business coalition to improve visitor visa availability can only signal a strong NYC hotel market going the last years of the first decade of the new millenium.

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.