Prospects of cementing a landmark agreement this year to further open up trans-Atlantic air service hit severe turbulence on Wednesday over revised U.S. plans to give foreign investors in domestic airlines more say in how those businesses are run.

The tentative accord struck by US and EU negotiators months ago hinges on timely completion of last November's Transportation Department proposal to ease long-standing limits on foreign investment.

The United States wanted to wrap up the ownership plan in time for European Union transport ministers to review it in June. But legislation working its way through the Senate would delay consideration of it for a year.

By revising the proposal on Wednesday, the Bush administration sought to try and head off congressional intervention and salvage both the ownership plan and the aviation agreement with Europe.

In its revision, the Transportation Department backed off its spring deadline for the ownership initiative. It also revised language in that plan to ease concerns among lawmakers worried about the potential national security implications of overseas investors having influence over the operations of US carriers.

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