Where are the Candidates on Aviation Issues?

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Information after Polls closed

Candidates’ positions on Aviation related issues

Six different sources on Biden v. Trump

It’s too late to impact the election, but here are some six different comparisons of  the candidates and their positions on aviation related issues. An effort was made to edit down the articles to points most directly relevant to aviation.

Biden v, Trump flags

Trump or Biden: How might aerospace fare?

Flight Global logo


By Jon Hemmerdinger2 November 2020



…They note that Trump and Biden most-notably diverge on topics of corporate tax, global trade and diplomatic style – all central to aerospace.

But on other topics, such as government spending, economic relief packages and relations with China – the candidates have much in common, analysts say.

…Michel Merluzeau, aerospace analyst with Consultancy AIR, sees Trump and Biden as having vastly divergent styles, but nonetheless working largely “to get to the same place”.

By that, he means the candidates share much in common, at least in relation to policies affecting aerospace.


Analysts broadly suspect Trump would push tariffs much more aggressively than Biden – continuing the USA’s trade disputes with Europe and China. They suspect Biden, if elected, would work to mend trade relations with Europe.

But analysts doubt Biden would take a significantly softer approach to China. Indeed, Biden has stressed concern about Chinese intellectual property theft and insisted his administration would make China abide by trade rules.

Analyst Richard Aboulafia with Teal Group notes that “the Trump administration has made blowing up trade relations with China a very high priority”.

By not coordinating those efforts with allies, the Trump “administration was effectively handing market share to Airbus”, he says, noting China is the world’s largest aerospace market.

For that reason, specific to Chinese trade, a Biden victory would be “good news” to the US aerospace sector, Aboulafia believes.

Alex Krutz, aerospace manufacturing consultant with Patriot Industrial Partners, likewise suspects

Broadly, he thinks a continued tough stance by the USA toward China could indeed help address intellectual property concerns. Also, Krutz suspects China might think twice before retaliating with tariffs on imported US aerospace products because Chinese airframers like Comac rely on US-made engines and systems.


“Biden’s big question mark is on the corporate tax issue,” says Merluzeau.

In 2017, President Trump signed a tax overhaul law that set the US corporate tax rate at 21%, down from a previous rate of 35% on profits exceeding $10 million.

Biden has proposed increasing the corporate tax rate to 28%.

Such a move could force aerospace suppliers to cut research and development investment, says Merluzeau.

Krutz suspects higher federal taxes would impact smaller suppliers much more significantly than OEMs and top-tier suppliers.

Merluzeau thinks higher taxes could lead executives to seek out means of reducing state and local taxes. That pressure could add fuel to an already-underway “exodus of aerospace away from higher-cost areas”, Merluzeau says.

That trend has accelerated in recent months, with Boeing preparing to end 787 production in Everett, consolidating that work in North Charleston, South Carolina. Likewise, Pratt & Whitney is opening a new production site in Asheville, North Carolina.

“It’s not so much what happens in a four-year hypothetical Biden [term], it’s more the consequences of that policy [over] the long term,” Merluzeau says. Companies “are going to… seek the best tax advantages. That’s the nature of the business.”


Biden and Trump have each shown interest in big government spending, analysts note.

And they view both candidates as generally supportive of economic stimulus packages, including those potentially benefiting the aerospace and airline sectors.

…Krutz notes that Biden “has a record of” supporting large aid packages, noting that the Obama-Biden administration aided the struggling auto industry in 2009.

“If history repeats itself, [Biden will]… likely look at the aviation sector as a potential for needing additional funds,” Krutz says. “2009 might be a good blueprint of how he might inject support into the aerospace industry.”


Trump has long positioned himself as supportive of the US military, and US defence spending has crept higher on his watch.

Biden, however, has said he does not plan major defence spending cuts, according to several reports.

Still, analysts broadly view defence cuts as more likely under Biden.

“It’s clear that the two candidates have similar defence budget plans. What matters more is the Senate,” says Aboulafia….

The best outcome for the defence sector would be a “mixed government” – like today’s Republican-controlled Senate and Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, Aboulafia says.

biden trump debate

US election: how has Trump impacted aviation?

Airport Technology

…Despite their radically different views, the two have similar agendas when it comes to the immediate future of the aviation sector, whose revenues have dramatically plummeted since Covid-19 hit. Both have mentioned renewing or creating a new relief package for members of the industry – particularly airports and airlines – ahead of more, tougher months of limited activity.

But this is as far as their similarities go. President Trump will be marching through to election day having led airlines to peak revenues last year, imposed travel bans and kept a flourishing aircraft manufacturing sector. Meanwhile, Biden appears to have a more sustainable consciousness promising new zero-emission targets amidst increased funding for airport development.

President Trump’s impact on the aviation sector

…Yet according to Bhanu Choudhrie, founder of aviation training solutions provider Alpha Aviation Group, these successes were achieved in spite of President Trump’s policies rather than thanks to them. “President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016 was noted as a platform with fundamental ideals which would have an important impact on the aviation industry during his term,” he says, mentioning his feud with China, immigration and protectionism as the key traits.

“Four years since his inauguration, President Trump’s actions have proven an impact on aviation to be true.”

Withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2017 was one of his most controversial decisions, which Choudhrie says came “at a cost of access to new routes for the US aviation industry”, leaving the US’s role in the Asia-Pacific region uncertain.

Paul Weisbrich, managing director of investment banking at D.A. Davidson adds that while not directly responsible for it, in his mandate Trump has failed to revitalise the country’s struggling FAA. “The FAA is one of those perennially underfunded areas,” he says. “It’s like a can that keeps getting kicked down the road and the problems it has are going to keep on coming.”

An issue that has persisted, he says, for the past three administrations, it’s currently exacerbated by new cybersecurity challenges and the rise of unmanned aircraft in the US commercial aviation.

“Whoever is president next is going to inherit an underfunded FAA in a pandemic with a budget under a lot of pressure but several other issues,” he comments.

Trump’s actions during the Covid-19 pandemic

The past four years were almost entirely outshined by Trump’s coronavirus bailout package for the sector, which received over $60bn between airlines and airports. “Pre-Covid, airlines were making money for the first time in decades, signing up for many brand-new planes and it plummeted completely when people stopped flying,” says Weisbrich. “Most firms I work with say that Trump’s bailout package has saved jobs, but now that it has worn off many companies would very much like to have a second one after the election.”

…Echoing his words, Alpha Aviation’s Choudhrie blames the Trump administration for putting “massive amounts of pressure” on the sector to help and contribute with tracking and tracing the spread of the virus on flights. “These actions also lacked consideration for how data protection regulations impact airline customer bases and compromise the aviation industry’s international relationships for adhering to data privacy laws abroad,” he claims.

“Instead of working with the airlines to keep the industry operating, President Trump subjected the aviation industry to significant fines and grounded aircraft. This has had a massive hit on the whole aviation industry from travel agents, to aircraft mechanics, baggage staff, pilots and cabin crew.

What will the new administration need to do?

The short answer is a whole lot of things.

For D.A. Davidson’s Weisbrich, efforts will need to focus on economic recovery as well as saving the FAA, improving its work on safety and ensuring that Boeing’s 737Max aircraft enters service in December.

“We need to make sure that the next US President stays on top of this situation as it’s national imperative that we keep Boeing healthy,” he says. “The future President has got a big confidence [in flying] job in front of him, innovation challenges, cybersecurity challenges and more.”

For Almington’s John Engle, the future mandate will have to direct extensive government and private capital support to help the industry get back on its feet. “There is likely going to have to be some industry consolidation, and fleets are set to shrink,” he says. There will be a lot of pain in the sector, but concerted policy action may help it weather the storm.”

As for Alpha Aviation, Choudhrie stresses the importance of bringing more equality in the distribution of government aid to airlines, as well as greater acceptance of new pilot training methods. “Over the past four years, major airlines including American Airlines and Delta have received financial lifelines while many smaller carriers continue to suffer,” he concludes. “In order to enable the industry to grow, we need more equality of support so that not just the largest players receive bailouts while the smallest are forced into bankruptcy.”

entering their campaign planes

Where Trump and Biden stand on major policy issues

[NOTE: Fox News has not published a similar comparison. The Libertarian Reason Foundation 
has compared the two platforms.]

CNN politics

The Economy

Boosting the middle class is one of the main pillars of Biden’s campaign. He has said the country needs to build an economy that “rewards work, not just wealth.” Biden wants to repeal the tax cuts enacted by the Trump administration and is pushing for a $15 minimum hourly wage, eliminating noncompete agreements for workers and expanding access to affordable education, including free community college

Biden has detailed a moderate proposal to use government purchasing to spur manufacturing in sectors including clean energy, infrastructure and health care. … Biden’s climate plan also aims to spur the creation of millions of new jobs and focuses on infrastructure. His climate plan is part of a series of economic plans aimed at jump-starting an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Congress passed and Trump signed the largest emergency aid package in US history on March 27 in response to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The roughly $2 trillion CARES Act stimulus package included, among a myriad of other items, direct financial assistance to Americans…

Foreign Relations

A central argument of Biden’s campaign for president is that the former Vice President has extensive foreign policy experience from his eight years serving in the White House and from traveling the globe as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In June, Biden pledged to undo President Donald Trump‘s foreign policy moves in a speech in which the former vice president laid out how he would seek to restore pre-Trump international norms and “place America back at the head of the table.” The centerpiece of Biden’s effort to return to international cooperation is a summit that Biden said he would call among the world’s democracies, non-governmental organizations and corporations — particularly tech and social media companies — to seek a common agenda to protect their shared values…

Trump has made a series of unpredictable moves on trade, including the imposition of tariffs against allies like the European Union. Trump has also engaged in a two-year trade war with China, imposing an escalating series of retaliatory tariffs that have hit American farmers, importers and manufacturers. He announced plans to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement, an Obama-era trade deal among a number of countries, soon after taking office in 2017. Preferring bilateral deals, he signed a new trade pact with Japan in 2019 — but it was no …

Climate Crisis

Biden in July 2020 proposed spending $2 trillion over four years on clean energy projects and ending carbon emissions from power plants by 2035. In a speech detailing the plan, Biden called the threat posed by climate change a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to jolt new life into our economy.” The plan marks a clear shift by Biden toward progressives’ goals of urgently reducing fossil fuel consumption to combat climate change. Biden’s new proposal is more ambitious than the 10-year, $1.7 trillion plan he’d offered during the Democratic primary, which included the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. ..

Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord — a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets — was a major blow to the global response to the climate crisis. …


Trump vs. Biden: A breakdown of their stances on major issues


CBS News






climate change


Trump vs. Biden: A breakdown of their stances on major issues

The Washington Post’s analyses:

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Wa Po headline

economy issues


climate change



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