President Trump has made it known that he wants to bring manufacturing jobs back to America. One proven way he can do that: growing travel and supporting America’s Open Skies agreements.
President Trump continues to highlight his campaign promise of boosting manufacturing jobs in communities that need them. One major producer of that kind of employment? Aviation, a serious job creator when travel-friendly policies are in place.
It’s not hard to see the connection. Domestic and international air travel is a powerhouse for American jobs—but the economic benefits go far beyond our industry. Pro-travel policies, such as upholding our Open Skies agreements with countries worldwide, will bolster travel demand. The more travel grows, the more global airlines will need to purchase American-made planes—by the thousands— to transport them here and around the world.
When international airlines purchase planes from U.S. manufacturers, they create American jobs. For example: Middle Eastern airlines have committed to “buying American” for their new planes, many of which will be used on routes to U.S. cities. Per Boeing estimates, they have placed nearly 530 orders for Boeing planes, orders that could have easily gone to Airbus or another foreign manufacturer. That translates to 930,000 U.S. jobs up and down the supply chain, supported by those plane orders alone.
There’s only one thing that could threaten this job creation: upending our Open Skies aviation agreements, as the Big Three U.S. airlines (American, Delta and United) have lobbied our government to do. The Big Three are demanding that the U.S. government freeze flights to the U.S. by airlines flagged in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates—claiming, as part of their case, that those routes threaten American jobs. However, those assertions could not be farther from the truth—and if the government acquiesces by altering Open Skies pacts in any way, the aforementioned job-creating Boeing orders, and many of the 930,000 jobs they support, are at risk.
As U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow wrote of the Big Three’s campaign against Open Skies in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier this year: “While their arguments are couched in compelling terms, the Big Three airlines are not seeking a level playing field to compete. Instead, they are lobbying for government intrusion that would benefit themselves, but hurt American manufacturing jobs,” threatening President Trump’s pro-growth goals.
The Trump administration has a choice: resist the Big Three’s demands and uphold Open Skies and boost manufacturing jobs where they’re needed, which is completely consistent with President Trump’s deregulatory and job creation agenda; or acquiesce, and put those jobs at risk—not to mention tens of thousands of others. We sincerely hope the administration chooses to side with travelers, workers and growth.