European Union (EU), Norwegian, and Icelandic officials have scrapped restrictions on foreign airlines leasing aircraft and crews from US carriers- after signing an agreement that allows US carriers to seek wet lease services to European carriers.
The U.S. Transportation Department in a statement said the decision marks the end of a long-standing commercial concern for US airlines, and restoration of their ability to participate on fair terms in the market for wet lease services.
“European Community (EC) regulations, which are also applied by Norway and Iceland for years severely limited US carrier ability to wet lease to EU carriers. At the same time, EU carriers faced no such limitations under DOT regulations when providing aircraft and crew either to each other or to U.S. carriers,” the department said.
The department added the agreement removes the limitations that had been imposed on US carriers by the EC regulations. US carriers say they will now be able to compete fairly in the marketplace, more broadly offering their services in worldwide markets, and gaining a valuable chance to benefit from the new commercial opportunities.
A “wet lease” is a commercial arrangement whereby one air carrier rents out its aircraft and crews for use by another carrier. These types of leases can represent an important revenue source to the carrier providing the aircraft and crews.