Brookings: Open Skies – Estimating Traverlers’ Benefits From Free Trade In Airline Services

Clifford Winston and Jia Yan


The United States has negotiated bilateral open skies agreements to deregulate airline competition on US international routes, but little is known about their effects on travelers’ welfare and the gains from the US negotiating agreements with more countries. We develop a model of international airline competition to estimate the effects of open skies agreements on fares and flight frequency. We find the agreements have generated at least $4 billion in annual gains to travelers and that travelers would gain an additional $4 billion if the US negotiated agreements with other countries that have a significant amount of international passenger traffic.

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