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The United States government has long advocated for the implementation of open skies policies in order to reduce government interference in the aviation sector (Adler 2017). Since their introduction in 1992, the rules also resulted in a significant increase in international freight and commuter flights to the United States, resulting in expanded commerce and tourism (Belobaba et al., 2015). The negotiations have made this possible by removing the government's influence on airline carriers' business plans, as well as their capacity and pricing. As a result of the relocation, they are now able to provide facilities that are reliable, accessible, and inexpensive. By giving the US airline carriers unlimited access to the market, the policy has also made it possible for them to offer efficient, convenient and affordable services. By giving the US airline carriers unlimited access to the market, the policy has also made it possible for the industry to achieve maximum operational flexibility. Besides the policy, there are other factors that have also had significant effects on the aviation industry. The factors include International Air Transport Association (IATA), Association Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR), Airline for America, the U.S Chamber of Commerce and the US Department of Transport (DOT) (Belobaba et al., 2015). This discussion will be based on the advantages and the disadvantages of such factors and their contribution towards the success of the aviation industry.
IATA is currently the most prominent trade association of the worlds’ airlines. It has about 270 members, the association controls close to 85% of the overall air traffic (International Air Transport Association 2015). Besides their support in the airline business, IATA develops policies and regulations aimed at solving important concerns that arise in the field of aviation. Through its offices that are spread all over the globe, IATA negotiates and maintains appropriate relationships with the governments and other aviation partners in order to create an appropriate work environment for its members. It also provides a global voice on behalf of its members in instances that can lead to global crisis. Security in the aviation industry remains IATA’s major concern (International Air Transport Association 2015). The association thus continue to sensitize and regulate various airlines in efforts to ensure that they meet the standards that have been stipulated. Through a partnership with ICAO, IATA has also succeeded in harmonizing the security measures. In support of the US’s open skies policy, IATA through its financial settlement systems has helped the members contain costs as well as improve the flow of cash and maximize efficiency. Cost reduction in terms of fuel and taxation have also been greatly reduced through the influence of IATA.
Despite the success of IATA, the association according to its CEO Tony Tayler encounters some constraints with regards to the provision of a conducive environment for flight operations (International Air Transport Association 2015). Flight safety and tracking are one major constraint. Despite the fact that traveling by plane is currently considered the safest means, flight accidents remain vital. Such accidents are in many cases caused by instances where pilots lose signals with their command stations. IATA thus needs to develop strong mechanisms of tracking their planes. Ticketing systems also provide a lot of setbacks to the association. The need to physically work with a plane ticket has reduced operations and thus led to low profits amongst its members. The association thus needs to develop an online system that ensures smooth ticketing and thus increased rates of travel.
The safety of the physically impaired has continuously raised debates with regards to their welfare in the aviation industry. The Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR) is one body that champions for their wellbeing through the initiation of various measures. Such measures include its recent partnership with a leading communication access company in order to ensure real-time captioning of services that are provided by AAPR (Meldrum 2016). The move will ensure that AAPR services will be fully accessible to those that are deaf or have a problem with their hearing capabilities. Through real-time captioning, AAPR has been able to make it possible to convert spoken a word into instant texts. The partnership is also aimed at coming up with appropriate measures in order to ensure that air travel is made favorable to the passengers that are physically impaired. AAPR have continuously called on the US Department of Transportation to enforce restrictions that will ensure that all the commercial carriers have a subtitle or captioning devices that will provide entertainment for those that are deaf. AAPR, however, has encountered setbacks that are created by the lack of commitment amongst various aircraft operators to adopt programs that can help the deaf while on the planes (Giraudet et al., 2015).
The Airlines for America have overtime recognized the effects of taxation on the aviation industry. The taxes that are levied on the airlines, shippers and the passengers have undermined positive economic development in the industry (Helleloid et al., 2015). In efforts to end such vices, Airlines for America has partnered with various stakeholders in order to ensure tax harmonization. Through the reduction of taxes, Airlines for America aims to promote affordable services to the public thus encouraging regular flights (Helleloid et al., 2015). One challenge that faces the association, however, is the commercial jet fuel tax act that places immense taxation on the airplane fuel as well as the value-added tax on the airline services. Despite the efforts to deregulate the US airline industry, it still presents itself as the most regulated industry because of regular government interference. Airlines for America has also continued to champion for the reform of the air traffic control. The poor control schedules that are currently in place have led to unnecessary flight delays and rescheduling hence reducing profits. The challenge, however, is presented by the interconnection between air traffic control and the Federal Aviation Administration (Wensveen 2016). The model has led to the politicization of the airline industry leading to a non-reliable funding stream as well as slow pace while implementing technological improvements.
The US Chamber of Commerce has over the last 15 years served as a platform in which space industries and aviation leaders develop mechanisms for improving the aviation industry (Katz 2015). The Aviation Summits that are done annually have grown into platforms for celebrating those that have had immense influence in the industry as well as the adoption of new strategies. Major debates that have dominated the summits floor include government policies, flight tracking and safety mechanisms, economic impacts of aviation and the adoption of technology in the aviation industry. The summit has also served as a ground for discussions not only among the airline executives but the government as well in efforts of coming up with the appropriate ways of improving the aviation infrastructure. Through the summit, the members have been able to harmonize their stand on the need for technological advancement in the airlines. The move has seen the introduction of new tracking measures that have drastically reduced cases of airplane accidents and loss of signals. The challenge however still come with strong government policies that have worked against the resolutions by the summit. Besides the policies, the summit is yet to attain 100% attendance as some key members in the aviation industry rarely attend the summit (Katz 2015).
The US Department of Transportation is one crucial part of the US’s aviation industry. The department is tasked with the biggest responsibility of awarding licenses to those that want to venture into the US transportation sector (Krumm 2017). In efforts to discharge its mandate, the department is divided into various sections. The first division is the air carrier fitness center that has the responsibility to analyze and evaluate the economic capabilities in order to ascertain whether the applicant has the capability provide commercial airline operations. The division also monitors regularly the operations of all the licensed airlines in the US in order to ensure that they meet the required standards during the provision of duties. For an airline to receive the authority to operate, the carrier must present an official application to the authority stating their economic capabilities as well as their structure of operation. Despite its achievements, the Department of Transportation (DOT) faces several constraints that include the need to balance transportation networks and the national goals. For example, DOT has to change to a performance-based approach in order to meet the requirements of other departments within the aviation industry. The implementation of the Next Generation Air Transport System (NextGen) also presents DOT with immense challenges (Helmreich & Merritt 2017). The constraints include coming up with procedures that can provide aircraft operators with the return on investment. The management of the program’s interdependencies will also present DOT with a challenge.
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