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Why can't airlines fly wherever they want around the world?

The answer to this simple question is that:

a) it is not profitable to fly airplanes great distances around the world, stopping many times to board and offload passengers, and

b) governments of the countries that you may want to fly to are very protective of their airspace, national airlines, and fare paying passengers.

Yes, governments around the world not only regulate who flies where and how often (and sometimes with what fare), they regulate where you can and can't pick up passengers, and in some well publicized cases will resort to hostilities if an airplane is carrying out actions that are inconsistent with its livery and flight plan. Also, as we all know from our morning commute etc., everyone always wants to be in the same place at the same time, and the same is true with airlines. So at some busy places we need the traffic cops (FAA/CAA etc.) to come up with some rules as to who gets to be there. Think of it like a parking slot, both in terms of availability and timing.

Fortunately, many thousands of people around the world in Brussels, Washington D.C. and Tokyo (to name a few of the heavyweights) are gainfully employed in simultaneously confusing the issues, and making sense out of all of this. Also many countries, including the U.S., overtly seek "open-skies" so every-one can compete wherever it is economically feasible.

Remember that dinky little Singapore, miles from anywhere, with very open-skies, has the world's consistently best airline, and one of the best airports I've ever visited. To me this suggests that open-skies can be a pretty good thing.



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