BRUSSELS, March 28 (Xinhua) -- A new aviation agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United States, to take effect Sunday, will bring more opportunities to the industry, the EU said Friday.
Under the agreement, European airlines can fly without restrictions from any point in the EU to any point in the United States, the two biggest aviation markets.
"This marks the start of a new era in transatlantic aviation. This agreement will bring more competition and cheaper flights to the U.S.," said European Commission Vice President Jacques Barrot, who is in charge of transport affairs.
Barrot described the agreement as a revolution in air transport across the Atlantic, which makes up 60 percent of world traffic.
He predicted an 8-percent increase in transatlantic air traffic in the summer as a result of the so-called "open skies" agreement.
London's Heathrow airport alone will have 16 additional flights to the U.S. per day.
With the new agreement, all EU airlines will now be able to operate direct flights to the U.S. from anywhere in the EU and not just from their home country.
Previously, 21 EU countries had bilateral agreements with the U.S.
Six countries -- Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia -- which had no agreements with the U.S. can now benefit from the new agreement, signed in April 2007 in Washington.