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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                       (Merida, Yucatan, Mexico)
For Immediate Release                                  February 15, 1999


U.S.-Mexico Civil Aviation Agreement

President Clinton and President Zedillo today signed an agreement to liberalize air transportation within the U.S.-Mexico market. This agreement will result in improvements in the U.S.-Mexico aviation regime and is expected to yield tens of millions of dollars per year to the airlines of each country.

The 1960 Air Transport Agreement with Mexico, as previously amended, currently permits each country to designate only two airlines for operations between any pair of cities in the United States and Mexico. This has prevented both countries' airlines from offering services on all the routes they wish to serve. The previous Agreement also imposes onerous authorization requirements for charter flights.

The new agreement will permit four additional airlines from each country to "code-share" on flights between any pair of cities in the United States and Mexico. ("Code-sharing" allows one airline to sell seats under its own name on another airline's flights.) The agreement will also allow unlimited code-sharing for flights beyond gateways in each country. In addition, U.S. and Mexican negotiators agreed to reduce the administrative burden for their carriers conducting series of charter flights.

The resulting expansion of air services will benefit not only airlines, but airports, communities, travelers, and businesses on both sides of the border. Whereas U.S. and Mexican airlines currently have fewer than 100 code-sharing arrangements, applications for code-sharing arrangements on some 10,000 city pairs are already pending, suggesting that U.S. airlines may soon code-share with Mexican airlines on more city pairs than they will with airlines from the rest of the world combined. For passengers, code'sharing under this new agreement will offer more choices of destinations and airlines, better coordination of connecting flights, more seamless check-in, and new opportunities to earn frequent flyer miles. For communities, it will mean more international air service and opportunities to attract additional tourism, trade, and investment.

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