Delta Air Lines to Leave Airlines For America Trade Group in 2016

elta Air Lines will no longer be a member of Airlines for America — which is a trade group for the commercial aviation industry in the United States — effective as of sometime in April of 2016, according to this official press release.

Although the position reportedly taken by Delta Air Lines is to use the annual membership fee of five million dollars towards investing it back into the airline, the press release reported that the airline was not aligned with other members of the Airlines for America on a “few key industry positions” — such as the need to modernize and improve the air traffic control system in the United States.

The announcement could be interpreted as a weakening of the ability for airlines based in the United States to lobby as a united front in Washington, D.C. — as well as less capital with which to work, which remains to be seen as only time will tell — but according to this article written by Jeffrey Dastin for Reuters, word from Delta Air Lines is supposedly to “support what we believe is a more efficient way of communicating” in Washington, D.C.

“As an association we work collaboratively in the best interests of our members and the customers and communities they serve, and are most effective advocating for the traveling and shipping public when we speak with a unified industry voice,” said Nicholas Calio, who is the president and chief executive officer of Airlines for America. “The pending change will not distract A4A and its members from the continuing work of fighting higher taxes and unnecessary regulations while pushing for updated infrastructure along with the vast array of technical and regulatory issues that A4A’s councils and committees regularly address.”

Airlines for America is not the only entity with which Delta Air Lines has severed or weakened ties within the past few years. Effective as of Tuesday, September 15, 2015, the interline agreement between Delta Air Lines and American Airlines had been terminated. The partnership with Alaska Airlines has been consistently eroding within recent years; and Korean Airlines — a founding partner of the SkyTeam Alliance — was suddenly and inexplicably relegated to a Group 4 airline back in June of 2013 where benefits for Medallion elite level members of the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program had been significantly reduced or cut altogether.

As one example of the advocacy of Airlines for America, it was one of two commercial airline industry groups — the other being the International Air Transport Association — which filed a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 under the allegation that the higher fees which passengers must pay violated federal law.

According to Airlines for America, the trade group “vigorously advocates on behalf of the American airline industry as a model of safety, customer service and environmental responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives our nation’s economy and global competitiveness. Our member carriers and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic.”

Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.

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