Major U.S. airlines are asking President-elect Donald Trump to intercede in what they call unfair competition with the subsidized Persian Gulf carriers, in addition to privatizing air traffic control.
Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL), American Airlines (NASDAQ: AAL) and United Airlines (NYSE: UAL) have unsuccessfully lobbied the Obama administration to help them take on major gulf airlines and renegotiate the Open Skies Agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, according to The Washington Post. The Open Skies Agreement was signed by more than 100 nations to allow airlines from different countries equal access to airports without interference from national governments.
With the current administration unsympathetic to their plight, the airlines are now pressing the new Trump administration for protection. While Trump has attacked U.S. trade deals that he says place Americans at a disadvantage, he has said little about the airline industry during his run for president. The airline industry posted a record $25.6 billion combined profit in 2015.
“It becomes a question of priorities and capacity to push through Congress laws invalidating regulations when you’ve got a whole lot of other things going on,” Bob Rivkin, a Chicago attorney who formerly worked for Delta and at the U.S. Department of Transportation, told Bloomberg. “In transportation, there are number of things that could be affected, but I think they’re going to be down the list of priorities.”
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