Open Skies Sides Square Off As Trump Meets Airline CEOs

- President Donald Trump told airline and airport executives Thursday that he supports privatizing America's air traffic control system, according to a top airline industry lobbyist who was in the meeting.

The administration's executive order restricting refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries was not discussed-despite reports that the airline representatives would want to address the issue.

"We want the traveling public to have the greatest customer service and with an absolute minimum of delays", Trump said while reporters were invited into the room to take photos of the group.

Jobs and Economic Impact: The U.S. airline industry is an integral part of the U.S. economy employing almost 700,000 people.

"Delta's doing well." POTUS quipped to Bastian when he introduced himself. Penny Kozakos, a spokesperson of Airlines for America, the organization representing the largest USA airlines, confirmed to Quartz that the issue was not discussed.

"We have obsolete airports and train systems and bad roads", Mr Trump said in a meeting on Thursday with the companies and airport leaders at the White House.


Trump said he believes the system could potentially work better if FAA was run by a pilot. Southwest informed POTUS that the airlines are not "in control" of those decisions. Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly told CNBC after the meeting that A4A will continue working with the Trump administration in the coming months: "I'm sure we will have some committee assignments and get to work on that punch list".

A spokesperson for the airline said it expected to announce new routes from Ireland and Scotland to the US in the next few weeks, adding: "Norwegian Air International was approved by the US authorities previous year so our focus is now on finalising plans for new routes, lower fares and new jobs in Europe and the U.S. - exactly what we promised and exactly what the EU-US Open Skies Agreement was designed for". Delta has been leading the charge to expand and upgrade our nation's airports, with extensive improvement projects planned and underway at major Delta hubs.

During a briefing on February 7, however, White House press secretary Sean Spicer suggested the Trump administration is receptive to allowing the NAI permit.

"President Trump has used this strong positive rhetoric with regard to labor issues", said Tim Canoll, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents about 55,000 pilots at 32 airlines. The current administrator, Michael Huerta, a holdover from former President Barack Obama's administration, isn't a pilot.

"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.

  • Annette Adams