U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement following his participation at a meeting today at the U.S. Department of State with Secretary Rex W. Tillerson regarding Open Skies:
“Today, a coalition of American businesses representing millions of workers directly expressed to the Secretary that the U.S. government’s Open Skies agreements—particularly those with the UAE and Qatar—create jobs across industry sectors and provide actual jobs for workers in real places. American jobs are created when new service is added and new visitors arrive, not hypothetical losses based in hype. To date, there’s been no demonstration of actual harm to U.S. employment related to these new routes. Quite the opposite.
“These policies further enable air service that connects America to underserved regions of the world where practically no competition exists. America should grow its market share of inbound travel from those willing to provide it.
“An official channel exists for the government to examine concerns raised by American carriers, namely the International Air Transportation Fair and Competitive Practices Act (IATFCPA), which allows a party to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation. That pathway hasn’t been pursued by the U.S. airlines thus far, and there is a widespread sense that IATFCPA is the proper venue for this. Breaking global treaties can’t be done without meeting a high bar that has stalled before actual damage has been demonstrated.
“There are simply too many jobs and stakeholders, let alone retaliatory risk, that could be jeopardized by reopening Open Skies. We urge the Administration to maintain the agreements that have brought jobs and revenue to America. They’ve connected us to global markets with the potential to grow our exports and maintain a positive travel trade balance that’s bolstered the economy for years.”
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry. Travelers in the United States are estimated to spend $1.1 trillion in 2022 (still 10% below 2019 levels). U.S. Travel advocates for policies to accelerate an even recovery across the travel industry and restore economic and job growth for this essential contributor to our nation’s success. Visit ustravel.org for information and recovery-related data.