WASHINGTON (June 28, 2016)—U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on reports that the U.S. government has rejected calls from the Big 3 domestic airlines and their union allies to tamper with Open Skies aviation agreements:
"The decision confirmed by the State Department is an unequivocal victory for the U.S. economy, U.S. workers and travelers all over the world. The Big 3 airlines and their union allies asked for two things that would have dramatically harmed fliers and the economy—one, enter formal consultations to renegotiate specific Open Skies agreements; and two, freeze air service from those countries—and they were thankfully granted neither.
"Research actually proves that the competition Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways provide to the U.S. aviation market is additive—for the economy, for job creation, for travelers, and even for U.S. airlines themselves. If that research had shown differently, our approach to the issue would have been different. It was so clear to us that the Big 3 were wrong that we felt compelled to oppose their attacks on Open Skies pretty much from their first press release in February of '15, even though we knew they would invest tens of millions of dollars in their lobbying campaign.
"I am grateful to the Obama administration for not buying into a highly questionable suite of arguments against Open Skies that from the beginning smacked of protectionism, cronyism and an unfortunate allergy to healthy competition. We hope that future decisions from the U.S. government on this front reflect the same openness and clear vision."