Airports lament exclusion from Senate aviation panel

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“Yes, airlines are an important part of American aviation,” he continued. “But American aviation also includes the experience of the 730 million passengers who will travel this year, from the second they enter their home airport until they exit in their new destination.”

The Airlines for America group argued during the hearing that Congress should enact a national airline policy to level the playing field between U.S. air carriers and foreign airlines.

"A weak U.S. airline industry means fewer flight options to fewer cities, particularly to foreign markets that are on the edge of profitability," A4A President Nicholas Calio testified on Wednesday.

Principato argued that an airline-only policy would “do nothing to advance the whole" in the aviation industry.

“Truly examining competitiveness, and making the long-term decisions and investments this system needs to meet America’s needs and compete globally, will require a national aviation policy,” he wrote. “This is a multi-stakeholder system, and [Wednesday’s] hearing is not comprehensive.

“The interests of ALL parties must be considered, not just a single industry,” Principato continued. “We strongly urge this committee to use this hearing as a starting point — but not as the end. We look forward to the next conversation — and to many more seats at the table.”

Despite the fractiousness of the aviation industries, lawmakers on the Senate panel said they were pleased with what they heard in the hearing this week.

“I appreciate everybody covering a wide-cross section of issues,” Cantwell said at the conclusion of the competitiveness hearing.  

“With the projections for future growth, the aerospace industry represents a great opportunity for job growth in America — but only if we take the right actions now necessary to stay competitive,” she said in a statement after the meeting. “Today’s hearing is about seizing that jobs opportunity.”