German and U.S. negotiators failed to agree on several key issues last week during the second round of sensitive aviation negotiations in Bonn.
Left unsettled was expanded access for Lufthansa German Airlines to U.S.
airports and modification of cabotage, (airlines from one country picking up passengers or cargo within the borders of the another country before flying on to a third destination).The negotiators said "initial progress was made" but talks would have to be followed up with a third round scheduled for early March. The first two sessions were in Bonn, and a U.S. Embassy spokesman indicated that the third session might take place there as well.
The U.S. delegation was headed by James A. Tarrant of the State Department while Werner Niester, an official with the German Transportation Ministry, led the German side. The talks began Wednesday and concluded Friday.
Although the U.S. Embassy in Bonn said the talks covered a broad range of issues, a difficult issue is German access to American airports and so-called fifth freedom rights.
Under a set of rules crafted by Washington after World War II, Lufthansa has access to 12 U.S. airports, but cannot pick up passengers from a U.S. airport and fly them to a third destination, something U.S. carriers flying to Germany are permitted to do.
Juergen Weber, Lufthansa's chairman, has pushed hard for the changes, as his airline is dependent on the heavily competitive Ger- many-U.S. route. Competition on this route has heated up since Delta and United Airlines entered the German market in full force.
Although German Transportation Minister Guenther Krause has sought what the Germans call a more level playing field, there is little reason for the United States to alter the rules, as they benefit U.S. carriers.