J. Parker Erkmann and Jonathan B. Hill – June 1, 2015
The most important issue at stake in this debate is the direction of U.S. aviation policy. Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. (“Hawaiian”) firmly believes that the public interest lies in the greater liberalization of all air transportation markets. The pursuit of Open Skies agreements with bilateral aviation partners has been a decades long initiative which has and continues to deliver huge benefits to the U.S. economy, to the traveling public and to the airlines which utilize its freedoms. The burden for any party seeking to justify curtailing the access of carriers of any nationality to international markets must be correspondingly high.
Any departure from the Open Skies policy has the prospect of ushering in an era where rights to fly between countries are exchanged on a mercantilist basis. Such a development would favor the national airlines of countries with substantial domestic traffic flows, the three largest U.S. network airlines1 (the “Big Three Carriers”) most prominently, to the cost of the traveling public and to the less wellendowed airlines of the world on which the consumer’s interest in competition increasingly depends. We encourage the U.S. government (“USG”) not only to confirm its attachment to the policy of Open Skies but to further commit to seeking further liberalization of international aviation where opportunities to do so exist. And they do in abundance.