Trump to Talk Security, Air-Traffic Control With Airline Chiefs

Saturday, 11 Feb, 2017

At Thursday's meeting, Trump discussed what he called an obsolete US air traffic control system, as well as out-of-date airport infrastructure, train systems and roads. But the details must still be resolved.

"We appreciate President Trump's time and his attention to the challenges facing the aviation industry", said Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies.

Bastian announced that the company plans on hiring as many as 25,000 workers over the next five years. He said he would get the money... "We looked at that as a positive thing".

And the airline executives - at least some of them - came armed with one appeal that has obvious ties to Trump's "America first" approach. Trump asked about the major construction at New York's LaGuardia airport. He also said that often the equipment that does get purchased is "obsolete the day they order it". Trump has proposed $1 trillion during the next decade for construction of roads, bridges and airports.

Trump signalled airports would receive some of the bounty from an infrastructure spending package expected later this year.

Joe Lopano, the CEO of Tampa International Airport in Florida, suggested that the $4.50 passenger-facility charge could be raised to help pay for airport modernization. A4A works collaboratively with the airlines, labor groups, Congress and the Administration to improve air travel for everyone.

"I know you're under pressure" from foreign competition, Trump told the executives. But Trump replied that "I don't like raising fees or taxes". Airlines have paid for the ban, having to refund tickets for passengers who weren't admitted in the US. He did not say which executives would attend the meeting.

"He was not specific", Burke said of funding source.

America needs a cohesive National Airline Policy that will support the integral role the nation's airlines play in connecting people and goods globally, spur the nation's economic growth and create more high-paying jobs.

Another controversial topic that came up was the competition the major USA carriers are getting from growing Persian Gulf and low-fare trans-Atlantic airlines. Domestic pilot unions also want Trump to overturn a decision by the Obama administration that allows the budget airline Norwegian Shuttle to expand into the United States. Congress will debate privatization as part of FAA's authorizing legislation, which expires September 30.

The meeting between Trump and the aviation executives did not touch on the controversial issues of Gulf airline subsidies, Norwegian or the Trump administration's travel restrictions, say attendees.

The Government Accountability Office said in a 2016 report that the United States "is generally considered to have the busiest, most complex and safest ATC system in the world". "That was really the crux of the dollar rally shortly after his election, and I think investors are getting really excited about that again". Delta is among the opponents, arguing that the change won't ease flight congestion. But airlines have been impatient with the program's pace and results.

American Airlines chief executive Doug Parker said he was not making "a political statement" by skipping an aviation executives meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday.