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Will Trump Address Advantages of Foreign Airlines at Thursday Meeting?

Image: Will Trump Address Advantages of Foreign Airlines at Thursday Meeting?

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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Tuesday, 07 Feb 2017 08:11 PM Current | Bio | Archive

President Donald Trump is scheduled to sit down Thursday for a "listening session" at the White House with executives from U.S. airline industry.

What the airline industry — as well as the American Pilots Association — are already asking is whether he will address what they consider unfair advantages given four foreign competitors: the three subsidized state-owned Gulf carriers – Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways — and Norwegian Air International, which the Obama Administration granted a highly advantageous foreign carrier permit in its final weeks.

The White House is not saying if Trump will discuss these advantages, as Press Secretary Sean Spicer made clear Tuesday to Newsmax.

"That will be something that will be decided when they meet," the president's top spokesman told Newsmax. "Obviously, the president is going to want to talk about economic growth, and job creation, [and] how he's enacting orders to make sure the country is safe.

The arrangement with Norwegian Air International has stirred the most controversy. Under the foreign carrier permit arrangement, Norwegian has been able to establish its main headquarters in Ireland and thus avoid several taxes. The airline is expected to start low cost flights from Cork and Shannon to the U.S. later in the year.

"Unfair!" cried 108 members of Congress, who wrote President Trump last month urging him to cancel the Obama Administration's agreement with Norwegian. Moreover, the Southwest Pilots Association (SWAPA) and the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) held a mass "Rally for U.S. Aviation Jobs" in Washington, D.C., last month to protest the Norwegian deals.

"This decision is just another failed trade deal by the Obama administration, giving foreign companies an unfair advantage over U.S. companies," Captain Jon Weaks, SWAPA President, told reporters.

"In the case of Norwegian, my understanding is, if I'm correct, that they are going to have 50 percent of the crew American," Spicer told us. "They are flying Boeing planes. There's a huge economic interest America has in that deal right now. I don't want to get ahead of the president on that. But just to be clear, you are talking about U.S. jobs, both in terms of the people who are serving those planes and building those planes. That's a very big difference [from what opponents are claiming]."

Spicer did not address the U.S. airline complaints about the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, who fund a $50 billion subsidy for their state-owned airlines. The CEO's of Delta, American, and United Airlines wrote Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shortly after his confirmation that if left unchecked, the Gulf carriers will expand in the U.S. and "as a result of subsidized carrier competition, more than 1,500 American jobs will be lost."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
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President Donald Trump is scheduled to sit down Thursday for a "listening session" at the White House with executives from U.S. airline industry.
foreign, airlines, White House, meeting
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2017-11-07
Tuesday, 07 Feb 2017 08:11 PM
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