67% of consumers believe the USG should not give into U.S. airlines’ demands that foreign airline expansion into the U.S. be stopped
OpenSkies.travel today released the results of a U.S. consumer survey, conducted online using Google Consumer Surveys, among 2,546 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The survey found that 89% of Americans who have traveled internationally or outside of the United States by airplane agreed that they support U.S. government Open Skies policy objectives, “to lower airfares and provide more convenient travel options.” In addition, 67% of Americans agreed that, “the government should not give into U.S. airlines’ demands that foreign airline expansion into the U.S. be stopped.”
“These results should be a wake-up call for the U.S. Departments of Transportation, State and Commerce,” said Kevin Mitchell, OpenSkies.travel and Business Travel Coalition founder. “Consumers, as the most important aviation policy stakeholder, realize the significant benefits to them and their communities from our Open Skies policy and see straight through the U.S. airlines’ allegations of unfair Gulf carrier competition as nothing more than blatant commercial protectionism. Recent business-traveler comments in the Wall Street Journal only reinforce this widespread understanding (http://btcnews.co/1Duy9el),” added Mitchell
- A majority of survey participants, or 61 percent, agrees that U.S. airlines need more competition from foreign airlines. (strongly agree 21.6% (+1.9 / -1.8); somewhat agree 39.3% (+2.3 / -2.2)
- A minority, or 41 percent, agrees major U.S. airlines are focused on the best interests of consumers. (strongly agree 9.7% (+1.5 / -1.3); somewhat agree 31.3% (+2.2 / -2.1)
- A majority, or 51 percent, agrees Gulf airlines are focused on the best interests of consumers. (strongly agree 12.6% (+1.3 / -1.2); somewhat agree 38.0% (+1.9 / -1.8)
- A large majority, or 76 percent, agrees that the Gulf airlines have increased travel opportunities from the United States to key markets in the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia. (strongly agree 18.3% (+1.4 / -1.2); somewhat agree 57.6% (+2.2 / -2.1)
Now that the U.S. Big Three airlines - Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines - have secured antitrust immunity for their global alliances and joint ventures, and have engineered U.S. domestic consolidation, they want to pull up the “Drawbridge” and lock down “Fortress America” by seeking to freeze the Gulf Carriers’ (Etihad Airways, Emirates and Qatar Airways) and other foreign carriers’ expansion into the U.S.
“Allowing the Big Three to hijack the public-policy-making process and to deny consumers access to competitive options and alternatives would completely undermine and reverse the goals and principles of U.S. Open Skies policy,” stated Charles Leocha, Chairman of Travelers United and Founding Member of OpenSkies.travel. “The interests being served are the Big Three’s. Only a minority of consumers (41 percent) believes U.S. airlines are focused on their best interest compared with a majority (51 percent) for the Gulf carriers. Importantly, a large majority (76 percent) of consumers agree that the Gulf carriers have increased travel opportunities from the U.S. to key markets in the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia,” added Leocha.
OpenSkies.travel urges the Administration to act with a sense of urgency to reject the protectionist demands of the Big Three and thereby to remove the ongoing financial and economic harm to U.S. consumers and other airline and travel industry participants as well as our Open Skies partners who took us at our word when we convinced them to enter into these air service liberalization agreements.
This survey was conducted online by Google Consumer Surveys, June 11, 2015 to June 19, 2015 and is based on 2546 responses. The sample was consumers from the U.S. national adult Internet population who answered "Yes" to the question, "Have you ever traveled internationally or outside of the United States by airplane?" The average number of trips taken by airline in the past year for survey respondents was 2.3. For complete survey methodology, please contact Kevin Mitchell at 610-999.9247.