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CAPA TV | October 26, 2020

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Should The US Relax Foreign Ownership Rules For Domestic Airlines?

  • On April 26, 2018

The US applies one of the most restrictive regimes for foreign ownership of airlines of any developed country. While there is a great deal of rhetoric surrounding the reasons for this, there has not been a great deal of empirical evidence that it is in the national interest – or even that of the incumbent domestic airlines themselves. One argument sometimes raised is that in times of strategic emergency a largely foreign owned airline might not be available for national uplift.

Pilot and other unions have been particularly strenuous in their opposition to increased foreign ownership. Here again there appears to be no generic reason for their resistance to change, other than unsubstantiated claims of the possibility of lower paid workers being introduced. Meanwhile some US airlines have taken advantage of other countries’ rules to acquire up to 49% of their national airlines in order to strengthen their market position.

  • How do the US foreign ownership rules compare with other countries?
  • What are the benefits of higher foreign ownership limits in the US market?
  • Would a more relaxed regime be a threat to incumbent airlines or existing airline employees?
  • If the US relaxed its rules, would that encourage more other countries to allow US investment in foreign airlines?

Moderator: Holland & Knight, Partner, Anita Mosner

  • Air Line Pilots Association International, Executive Administrator, Rick Dominguez
  • Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, International President, Sara Nelson
  • FedEx Express, Managing Director, Regulatory Affairs, Nancy Sparks
  • GoldSpring Consulting, Partner, Neil Hammond
  • U.S. Department of Transportation, Director, Office of International Aviation, Brian Hedberg
  • Volaris, Chief Executive Officer, Enrique Beltranena Mejicano

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