The US domestic airline system is broken, but can it be fixed?

27 March, 2018

As aviation infrastructure - on the ground and in the air - appears stuck in a time warp, the future of US domestic aviation looks perplexing. Funding for airport improvement, in what the President has described as often "third world" airport standards, has not been forthcoming.

Despite much talk, there appears to be little progress towards finding adequate methods or resources to supplement an already complex funding system, compounded by federal-state bickering and taxes that are both unhelpful and unproductive.

Air Traffic Control financing has been a political football for years and, despite universal agreement on the need for radical improvement, little traction is being achieved. Eximbank funding has suffered a similar fate, while foreign Export Credit Agencies have remained active. And, although international financing conditions have fortunately remained reasonably benign, US OEMs are placed at a disadvantage for no sound reason.

Meanwhile too, many medium sized communities have become disconnected as airline consolidation has reduced them to outposts, impacting their local economies. At a time when aircraft orders are booming and the US airline industry is more profitable than it has ever been, the time is ripe for a more comprehensive look at the overall system to make sure it better fits the needs of the industry, consumers and local communities.

But questions remain...

  • Are US airline and airport infrastructure and service levels appropriate to what US consumers and communities should expect?
  • What funding solutions would best fit the needs of the aviation system. What can be learned from overseas experience?
  • What steps can be taken to help medium sized airports recover connectivity?
  • Should Eximbank funding be reinstated?
  • Would a national aviation policy be of value?

This will be one of the topic areas discussed at the forthcoming CAPA- Centre for Aviation Americas Aviation Summit that takes place in Houston, USA between April 16-17, 2018.

Understanding aviation markets is CAPA’s great strength and passion and this year's agenda includes a variety of topics sure to generate interest. The US domestic airline system is broken. Can it be fixed? will be the topic of CAPA's popular 'The Great Debate' series and the discussion will open the event on the morning of 16-Apr-2018 within Session One, entitled Aviation Outlook. The debate format will seek to draw out the key underlying problems with today's system and look to ways of "fixing" it.

The high-level Americas Aviation Summit is a forum for debate and discussion of strategic issues facing the region’s aviation industry and it is attracting airline and travel industry CEOs from across the Americas region, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

It is a key time in the United States as it approaches the next generation of aviation. As consumer demands change rapidly, as infrastructure needs remain unsatisfied, and as longstanding policies are under attack, the US airlines are unprecedentedly profitable. There is much that needs to be fixed if they are not to be marooned in the present, domestically and internationally.

FIND OUT MORE... visit the CAPA Americas Aviation Summit homepage to find out more about this not-to-be-missed opportunity to discuss relevant issues impacting the US aviation sector and learn meaningful insights from your industry peers.