Top Article Throwback, 2012: A4A Letter on National Aviation Policy Including Safety Issues May Dilute the Messages to Charlotte and Tampa Conventions

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A4A’s President and CEO, Nick Calio, an expert in high level policy strategy, has written identical letters to the Republican and Democratic National Platform Committees bringing to their attention a number of issues of great concern to his airline members. Under an umbrella of a National Aviation Policy, the letter urges the national parties to address:

  • the tax burden which airfares bear,
  • the need to reexamine a number of regulatory restrictions imposed on A4A’s members, identifying 10 regulations which add $4B in annual costs with little benefits to consumers; the aviation safety rules targeted include
    1. FAA pilot qualification and flight-crew training regulations,
    2. FAA fuel-tank inerting regulations, and
    3. a proposed FAA rule that would rewrite training regulations for pilots, flight attendants, flight engineers and dispatchers
  • the need to “rationalize” the international regulatory regime that seems to favor foreign airlines to the detriment of the US carriers,
  • the value of expediting the implementation of the aspects of NextGen that benefit the airlines, specifically performance-based navigation procedures, while the other elements’ implementation have been complicated and significant issues remain unresolved, and
  • implementation of a multipronged approach that involves expediting the most cost-beneficial elements of NextGen, including deployment of performance-based procedures; increased domestic production of fuels; and continued research and development into alternative aviation fuels.

A4A’s agenda repeats positions which the association has made to the Congress, the FAA, the EU, the OMB and other Executive Branches.

The convention delegates will also be addressing major tax, health care, energy and other issues. The impact of the A4A initiative will be diluted due to the institutional nature of the FAA’s safety mission. When the Platform Committee members read the A4A letter, the average delegate will not likely fully understand the merits of most of the positions, but due to the respect which A4A has earned, they will likely be predisposed to support them—except the three FAA proposals mentioned above. Whether valid or not, the credibility of the FAA among the average citizen is high when that agency is proposing actions which favor safety. Even a well argued sentence or two is not likely to reverse that bias; much longer discussions or papers are required to convince even a knowledgeable Convention attendee that the FAA is wrong.

Including as A4A these FAA safety items, that are not intuitively a wrong needing to be righted by the Platform Committee, may dilute the association’s larger agenda.

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