- Many foreign governments actively promote their airlines through favorable regulation, taxation and infrastructure policies. As a result, foreign airlines are growing at a significant rate, reinvesting earnings in their products and expanding their global presence at the expense of U.S. airlines. The growth of foreign competitors has troubling long-term implications for our economy.
- Unlike foreign carriers, domestic airlines are willing and able to connect small, rural, and other nonhub communities throughout the country to larger U.S. cities and international gateways. The competitive position and financial means of foreign rivals would reduce the U.S. airline industry’s ability to serve these nonhub communities and connect them to international gateways.
- Foreign airlines are poised to acquire an additional 700 widebody aircraft (25 percent growth) over the next five years, more than 100 of which are expected to be deployed in service to and from the U.S. In contrast, U.S. airlines are acquiring comparatively few widebody aircraft during this period, most of which will be replacing, not supplementing, aircraft in the current fleet.
- In order to compete more effectively against foreign carriers that are increasing service to the United States, domestic airlines must have the financial strength to invest in new aircraft and more efficiently welcome more international passengers.
- Increase customs and border protection staff to make domestic airlines more competitive: Over the past 18 months, all major U.S. airports have reported increased wait times for arriving international passengers during peak times. At some airports, the average time to clear customs has increased to well over one hour. Despite the dramatic projected growth in international air traffic and tourism, the government is not planning to bolster customs and border protection staffing levels at airports. The U.S. must process visitors more efficiently through our nation’s largest commercial airports to encourage more foreign visitors.
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