Airline, Travel, And Tourism Organizations Voice Support For Open Skies In New Letter
Washington D.C. – Today, more than 25 organizations representing the airline, travel, and tourism industries sent a letter to Members of Congress and Administration officials defending U.S. Open Skies agreements. The letter emphasizes the economic and consumer benefits Open Skies agreements have brought to the U.S. and rejects the demands of Delta, United, and American (legacy carriers) to freeze U.S. routes for airlines from the United Arab Emirates (Emirates and Etihad) and Qatar (Qatar Airways).
The letter notes that the legacy carriers “have chosen not to use the Department of Transportation procedures that Congress established to hear such claims,” and urges the Administration to protect Open Skies by maintaining that these claims be assessed on the merits and in the proper forum.
The full text of the letter is included below and can be viewed online here.
August 7, 2017
Dear Members of Congress,
We write to share our strong support for maintaining the global framework of U.S. Open Skies aviation agreements. We are a diverse group of companies and organizations that benefit from an open and competitive airline system. Opens Skies promote competition in the airline industry, reduce costs for airline passengers, facilitate U.S. exports, support U.S. jobs, and strengthen local economies.
During the last three decades, the United States has negotiated Open Skies agreements with more than 100 countries around the world with the support of Democrat and Republican Administrations. These agreements create open markets for airline services and eliminate government interference in commercial decisions about the routes, frequency, pricing, and capacity of airline service, both for passenger and cargo carriers.
Open Skies agreements deliver substantial benefits for the U.S. economy. They open markets and save customers $4 billion on international travel every year. They enable cargo carriers to create global route networks, helping U.S. companies export millions of tons of cargo to customers across the world. They facilitate international tourism to the United States, which brings nearly $250 billion of spending into our local economies and small businesses. All in all, Open Skies agreements support more than 15 million U.S. tourism and hospitality jobs.
Unfortunately, these jobs are potentially jeopardized by demands from three U.S. passenger airlines to restrict access to the U.S. market for two Open Skies partners, in breach of our obligations. These airlines complain of unfair subsidies but have chosen not to use the Department of Transportation procedures that Congress established to hear such claims. We urge the Administration to protect Open Skies by insisting that these claims be assessed on the merits and in the proper forum.
We appreciate this opportunity to share our view and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with you.
Ad Hoc Committee
Airport Council International – North America
Business Travel Coalition
Cargo Airlines Association
Galaxy Travel & Cruises
Global Travel Strategies LLC
GlobalPoint Travel Solutions
Greater Orlando Aviation Authority
Hidden Treasure Tours
Houston Airport System
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
McCarran International Airport
Memphis International Airport
Sheraton New Orleans
US Travel Association
CC: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer
NEC Director Gary Cohn