Panel calls for a US policy that recognizes aviation as a major driver of economic growth

A panel on Projections for Aviation in the Trump Administration agreed that airlines being allowed to function as normal businesses would be a positive step forward for the industry.

Already, the Trump administration has been talking about aviation and airline CEOs have met with the President.

James Burnley, Partner at Venable LLP, said he expected a dramatic turn in aviation policy following the Obama administration’s involvement in airlines’ consumer and business relationships.

Everybody thinks they know how to run an airline better than an airline CEO

The previous administration, for example, had “put its finger on the scale of the airline-global distribution system (GDS) relationship in favor of the GDSs,” said Sharon Pinkerton, Senior Vice President, Legislative & Regulatory Policy, A4A.

Karen Walker, Editor in Chief, AirTransport World, summed up heavy-handed approaches to aviation when she declared that “everybody thinks they know how to run an airline better than an airline CEO.” 

But the panel warned that it wouldn’t be easy to undo regulations that are already on the books.

While they concurred that the Trump Administration is unlikely to do further harm to aviation, it will be tough to roll back the harm done in previous years, they suggested. 

President Trump has already indicated a desire to modernize US airspace

Two major talking points were the Executive Order (EO) that changed entry requirements to the United States without prior warning and the future of air traffic control. 

The EO caused considerable confusion. Passengers that had boarded planes legally found they were illegal on arrival.

However, while the public debate focused on the human element, the EO also contained a clause that asked for the capture of passengers’ biometric data to be expedited. 

Pinkerton noted that airlines were being made responsible for the collection of the biometric data and its associated costs.

“That should be a government function,” she said. “It is security and should be handled by the federal government.”

Doug Lavin, IATA’s Vice President for Members and External Relations in North America and the panel moderator, advised that a new EO is expected shortly. It is expected that this EO will give airlines time to comply.  

Meanwhile, Burnley led the calls for air traffic control to be liberated from the federal government. President Trump has already indicated a desire to modernize US airspace.

Overall, the panel called for a US aviation policy that recognizes aviation as a major driver of economic growth and job creation and allows it to move forward.

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