US – EU open skies agreement

The hotel industry has essentially been AWOL at virtually all stages of the open-skies agreement between the EU and the US. While it does not directly have a role it should have filed the equivalent of an amicus brief as its impact, if ratified, is likely to be anywhere between 25-30 million additional passenger crossing the pond in both directions. Those are big numbers given that the current traffic is estimated to be about 50 million.

Hoteliers ought to be salivating at the prospect of millions more travelers coming to US shores and filling the expanding supply of room inventory. However, the agreement remains unsigned with BA and Virgin forming an unexpected if not unholy alliance,given their decades long rivalry, and seem intent on thwarting what is in draft form from going forward. The opposition stems from what the two carriers foresee as a loss of heretofore primacy of slots at Heathrow. The end of the convenient duopoly can only be good for customers as any 101 economics class will reveal. In the end, some variation of the draft currently circulating is bound to get signed and the agreement will become reality. With the advent of the Boeing’s Dreamliner and Airbus’s A380 Superjumbo, that should make for some interesting changes in transatlantic travel and bodes well for the hotel industry.

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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.

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