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US forecasts are back-tracking

As recently as 2005, the FAA projected the US market would grow to a billion passengers by 2015. Today, a mere 5 years on, the FAA does not see the US market reaching that size until 2023 – eight years later than the prediction it made so recently. There is much more to this than merely a status issue – although that is always important too, especially when it comes to marketing US aviation products, coming from a position as a world…

As recently as 2005, the FAA projected the US market would grow to a billion passengers by 2015. Today, a mere 5 years on, the FAA does not see the US market reaching that size until 2023 – eight years later than the prediction it made so recently.

There is much more to this than merely a status issue – although that is always important too, especially when it comes to marketing US aviation products, coming from a position as a world leader, as opposed to as a diminishing power.

This is because the difference in growth rates translates immediately to job creation, to business activity and to tourism potential. If US airlines and the US aviation industry are to be relegated in this way to the position of second-rate global powers, a major policy rethink is needed. If the industry is unable to deliver market growth, domestically and internationally, it needs some new thinking.

That does not mean to suggest that the creeping protectionism of many recent proposals is the way to go. All that does is to constrain growth even further and to encourage inefficiency. That outcome helps nobody – and certainly does not create new wealth or other benefits.

Instead, it means having a fresh look at the world aviation system, this time through the eyes of a diminishing power, and assessing how a home grown industry may best survive and prosper in the new environment. In essence, this probably implies plugging into the successful elements of the emerging powers. Alliances, more relaxed foreign ownership rules and generally more expansive international relationships all form part of this equation.

And, somewhere in there is a recognition that there is no future in using aviation infrastructure as a political football. Investment in this industry will be critical if it is even to stand still.

This scenario is not a pretty one, but unless the status complacency seen so often in Washington now is replaced by some good old-fashioned get up and go, the aviation industry will have got up and gone.

Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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