U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs Jonathan Grella issued the following statement on the resolution approved Monday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which takes a cautious approach to the Open Skies issue:
“Whatever they say publicly, the Big Three U.S. airlines cannot take Monday’s action by the U.S. Conference of Mayors as anything other than a stiff-arm to their war on competition.
“The mayors declined to endorse the freeze in service from the Middle East carriers that the Big Three have requested from the U.S. government and instead opted for a watered-down measure that had more wiggle room than you can find in all of Business Class. The freeze is the centerpiece of the Big Three’s agenda, and the fact that the mayors weren’t buying it represents a repudiation of the U.S. legacy carriers’ attack on Open Skies.
“The freeze sought by the Big Three would be retroactive to January 2015. New flights to the U.S. that have already been announced would be erased. Cities would be denied expanded access to key segments of the international travel market. It is time for the Big Three to follow the example of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and finally drop their push to freeze and roll back job-creating air service routes.”