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Highlights

GAO discussed the Department of Transportation's (DOT) international aviation policymaking, focusing on: (1)operating and marketing obstacles that U.S. airlines encounter at airports in Europe and Asia; and (2) marketing alliances between U.S. and foreign airlines. GAO noted that: (1) international traffic has become increasingly important to U.S. airlines; (2) although the international aviation market has become more dynamic, it remains heavily regulated; (3) the emergence of more efficient U.S. airlines has caused foreign countries to maintain or increase access restrictions; (4) many foreign governments have sought to gain greater access to U.S. markets for their airlines; (5) despite several constraints, DOT has substantial leverage to strengthen U.S. airlines' position in foreign markets; (6) DOT has not been able to achieve its goal of a deregulated international market and is not likely to in the foreseeable future; (7) DOT ability to pursue international deregulation has been limited by the need to resolve crises and by insufficient traffic data analysis; and (8) DOT analysis of traffic data prior to approving code-sharing arrangements can be strengthened.

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