I was talking to a friend the other day, one who has been in the aviation industry a long time and worked with and for airlines for much of that time. He expressed to me, unasked and unprompted, his concern with the airline industry’s initiative to enact a National Airline Policy rather than a National Aviation Policy. How can we leave out all the other sectors, he wondered? Where would this kind of approach leave us? On the outside, looking in, he guessed.
That conversation turned my mind back to the speech Sen. Jay Rockefeller gave earlier this year to the Aero Club of Washington. Sen. Rockefeller was lamenting the fact that it took so long to get an FAA bill enacted, and I should say it was an effort he poured his heart and soul into. With much justification, he said that the reason was the aviation industry never came together. He implored us not to let that happen again. That, in large part, is why the ACI-NA board passed a resolution favoring a National Aviation Policy, and specifically mentioned policies to promote every sector.
So, back to my friend, the airline veteran. How do you square what Sen. Rockefeller asked us to do with what the airline industry, as a group, is doing? You cannot. Dividing the industry makes no sense. As I have written before in this space, the only real thing that is keeping the aviation industry as a whole from moving together is the airlines’ unwillingness to engage on the issue of airport infrastructure. I know they like to point to various countries
So when will the airlines get the message and work with the rest of the industry?
around the world as having enlightened policies, but the point they miss is they have AVIATION policies not airline policies. They use policies to build and modernize airport infrastructure that can benefit airlines but are banned/limited here, partly because airlines have decided to cut off their nose to spite their face.
I continue to hope the entire aviation industry can come together. Airports are willing and I know most other sectors are willing as well. So, why will the airlines not heed Sen. Rockefeller’s great advice and join the effort to come together?