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US, Canada to promote cross-border air service

The United States and Canada reached an airline traffic agreement that breaks a 10-year stalemate in off-and-on negotiations for new cross-border airline services, Canadian officials said Wednesday.

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The agreement is designed to encourage local and regional air service between the two countries. It also introduces a three-year experiment to increase traffic to underutilized airports, starting in Canada with the big Mirabel Airport near Montreal. It also provides for an exchange of airline routes.

Transport Minister Lloyd Axworthy said the agreement clears a major hurdle and will allow the countries to negotiate a pact covering specific flights between major US and Canadian cities.

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