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Nod for new air services pact with U.S.

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave the green signal for the signing of a new air services agreement with the U.S., which would allow airlines of the two countries to operate flights to any place in either country. At present, the number of points of call for the airlines are restricted to four centres each country.

The pact, which will be signed here on Thursday by the Union Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel, and the visiting U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Norman Y. Mineta, will also provide for the removal of the restriction on code-sharing rights. Now it is confined to any five points in either country. In addition, it would remove all restrictions on Fifth Freedom traffic through intermediate points.

Speaking to reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Mr. Patel said the decisions would help Air India to realise its plans to operate flights to Washington, San Francisco and Houston.

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