October 28 - U.S. Airlines Poorly Advised On Gulf Carrier War Entering Drawdown Phase


Americans support withdrawal before more harm is done to consumers and the national interest

October 28, 2015, WASHINGTON, DC - Business Travel Coalition (BTC) today reacted positively to news that Delta Air Lines is cancelling its $5 million dollar annual membership in the U.S. airline trade group Airlines For America (A4A). BTC believes that the U.S. major network carrier (US3) war on Gulf carrier entry into U.S. markets has now entered the operational and financial drawdown phase. The multi-million dollar US3 campaign to demonize the Gulf carriers was doomed from conception with tepid backing from other U.S. airlines and zero support from consumers, corporate travel departments and other industry stakeholders such as cargo carriers and airports adversely impacted by U.S. airline industry consolidation.

The most existential of threats to the US3 articulated by Delta - Gulf carrier U.S. market expansion - excessively repeated in Obama Administration meetings, train station billboards, radio advertising, press statements, media placements and industry gatherings was missing from the A4A press announcement today. However, Delta’s press release late today provided insight: “In recent years, the trade group, known as A4A, has failed to support Delta on several key issues, including the growing harm of government-subsidized carriers in the Middle East...”  

“What’s obvious to many industry observers is that Delta’s exiting the battle field, and the break up of the coalition, represents the inverse decision of British Airways/IAG in pulling out of the Association of European Airlines because of that association’s commercial protectionism stance against the Gulf carriers and new-entrant competition. Open market advocates simply don’t seek government-sponsored commercial protectionism,” stated BTC founder Kevin Mitchell.

“This is the clearest admission to date by Delta that it is truly estranged from its competitors and customers and doesn’t care about the U.S. national interest, broader airline industry interests or the best interests of the traveling public - it apparently cares only about Delta, and its hyper-parochialism has made it impossible to work with industry colleagues and regulators for the greater national good. This is shameful on a variety of levels,” added Mitchell.


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