Delta sends employees to meet with members of Congress in latest Open Skies rally, while the Middle East Three find another American ally.
Employees of Delta Air Lines are conducting a whirlwind tour of Capitol Hill, visiting over 200 congressional offices in order to stir support for the carrier’s Open Skies campaign. In a press release, the legacy carrier says 60 volunteers from across the company spent the week visiting with Congress members to discuss the ongoing debate.
“We can and do compete with airlines all over the world,” said a Boston-based cargo worker, identified in the press release as Manny A. “But we can’t compete with unlimited funds from a government. We are accountable to our shareholders and we are just asking for Open Skies to be enforced.”
The congressional delegation coincides with Delta chief executive Richard Anderson’s speech to the Detroit Economic Club. Calling the Gulf carriers the “greatest challenge” to the aviation industry, Anderson used his time at the podium Tuesday to address support his airline has received from Detroit mayor Mike Duggan and both Michigan senators.
“Detroit particularly understands the dangers of not enforcing trade agreements — and, in fact, that’s really the debate that’s going on right now in our Congress,” Anderson said. “Often, our country is faced with trade agreements where the parties on the other side are not private industry — they’re run by governments.”
Although the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution supporting the legacy carriers, another trade organization has spoken up against the Open Skies debate. In a letter, the National Association of Manufacturers spoke out against the revisiting of Open Skies agreements with Qatar and the UAE.
“Proposals to reopen and renegotiate the current agreements with Qatar and the UAE are unwarranted and directly contrary to the U.S. government’s long accepted and bipartisan policy in support of aviation liberalization,” wrote Robyn Boerstling, director of transportation and infrastructure policy for NAM. “Seeking to renegotiate and perhaps renege on such agreements undermines the U.S. government’s international credibility not just for Open Skies agreements, but for all trade and other international agreements that are currently in negotiations or already in force.”
[Photo: Delta Air Lines]