Oberstar: Strict airline ownership laws a matter of security

By Michael Fabey

WASHINGTON -- The United States needs to clarify and tighten laws governing U.S. ownership of domestic airlines primarily for national security purposes, Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn) said at an International Aviation Club event on Monday.

Oberstar said the United States needs to retain its restrictions regarding foreign ownership and control to make sure domestic carriers can deployed for its Civil Reserve Air Fleet, which makes use of commercial airlines to ferry military troops, personnel and materiel.

Oberstar, chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, inserted language into the Federal Aviation Administration's reauthorization bill that clamps down on designs to open up domestic airlines to more foreign investment or control.

The amended bill comes just as European and U.S. negotiators are about to restart open-skies talks. A key item on Europe's agenda is creating greater opportunities for cross-border investment.

The language inserted into the amended bill will not prove to be an obstacle to U.S.-European Union negotiations, Oberstar said.

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