Airlines for America Statement on White House Meeting

WASHINGTON, February 9, 2017 – CEOs representing Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today met with President Donald Trump and senior White House officials to discuss the critical role that U.S. airlines play as drivers of the economy and job growth across the country.

A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio, was joined by the following member CEOs at  the White House meeting: Brad Tilden, Chairman and CEO, Alaska Air Group; Bill Flynn, President and CEO, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc.; Dave Bronczek, President and Chief Operating Officer, FedEx Corporation; Robin Hayes, President and CEO, JetBlue Airways Corp.; Gary C. Kelly, Chairman and CEO, Southwest Airlines Co.; Oscar Munoz, CEO, United Continental Holdings, Inc.; Myron Gray, President, U.S. Operations, UPS.

“U.S. airlines are an integral part of our nation’s economy, as millions of Americans depend on safe, affordable and abundant air travel and shipping options each day,” said Calio. “We are grateful to President Trump for hosting this meeting and were encouraged by his in-depth understanding of our industry and the need to reform our air traffic control system. We share his administration’s goals of growing jobs, reducing taxes and regulation, and expanding our economy. We are confident we can achieve these outcomes by working together.”

Topics for discussion included:

  • Jobs and Economic Impact: The U.S. airline industry is an integral part of the U.S. economy employing nearly 700,000 people. We operate 27,000 flights each day that carry 2.2 million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo. See these fact sheets for more information about airlines’ investments in the customer experience and our employees, as well as how we contribute to airport financing.
  • Air Traffic Control Modernization: The flying and shipping public deserve modernized air traffic control infrastructure. Unnecessary flight delays that are often the result of outdated, WWII-era technology and procedures cost the United States an estimated $25 billion in 2016 alone. Benefits of modernization will include: enhanced safety, reduced delays, fuel savings, reduced emissions, increased capacity and greater operational efficiency. See these fact sheets to understand why our air traffic control system needs modernization.
  • Regulatory Reform: We need smart reforms that will unlock the industry’s potential to expand jobs and improve the customer experience, while maintaining the high level of safety we have today. Commercial aviation was deregulated almost 4 decades ago. Yet, we’re still subject to more than 13,000 regulations across 13 federal agencies – and that’s just in the United States.
  • Taxation: Aviation is subject to 17 separate federal aviation taxes paid by airlines and their customers. Our passengers are over taxed and a portion of TSA and CBP so-called user fees are diverted to deficit reduction and other federal spending, paid by airlines and their customers. These taxes increased from $3.7 billion in 1990 to $23.1 billion in 2016. Currently, passengers pay 21 percent of a one-stop, round-trip domestic ticket in taxes, an excessive burden on our customers. You’d be hard pressed to find an industry with a greater federal excise tax burden than U.S. airlines. While the airports want an increase on the Passenger Facility Charge, the President stated that he does not like fees.

ABOUT A4A

Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. Airlines for America (A4A) vigorously advocates on behalf of the American airline industry as a model of safety, customer service and environmental responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives our nation’s economy and global competitiveness.

A4A works collaboratively with the airlines, labor groups, Congress and the Administration to improve air travel for everyone.

For more information about the airline industry, visit our website airlines.org and our blog, A Better Flight Plan, at airlines.org/blog.
Follow us on Twitter: @airlinesdotorg.
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