Fly America Act & Open Skies Agreements
Federal travelers are required by 49 U.S.C. 40118, commonly referred to as the "Fly America Act," to use U.S. air carrier service for all air travel and cargo transportation services funded by the U.S. government.
One exception to this requirement is transportation provided under a bilateral or multilateral air transport agreement (Open Skies Agreements), to which the U.S. government and the government of a foreign country are parties, and which the Department of Transportation has determined meets the requirements of the Fly America Act.
Airline Open Skies Agreements
In 2007, the U.S. entered into an "Open Skies" Agreement with the European Union, modified in June 2010. The current Agreement gives European Community airlines (airlines of Member States) the right to transport passengers and cargo on flights funded by the U.S. government, when the transportation is between a point in the United States and any point outside the United States that the EU airline is authorized to serve under the “Open Skies”, or between any two points outside the United States.
EU airlines are now granted the right to transport civilian agency-funded passengers who are NOT eligible to travel on GSA Airline City Pair Contract fares (e.g., grantees) between a point in the United States and a point outside the United States even if there is a GSA Airline City Pair Contract fare in effect between the origin and destination points.
EU airlines are now authorized to transport passengers between points in the United States and points outside the EU if the EU airline is authorized to serve the route under the Agreement. This includes flights that originate, arrive, or stop in the EU.
In accordance with the Agreement, however, a U.S.-flag air carrier must be used if transportation is obtained or funded by the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of a Military Department.
The U.S has also entered into Open Skies Agreements with Japan, Australia, and Switzerland.