Why are the Big 3 U.S. airlines staffing up with lobbyist alumni from the Obama administration and Clinton campaigns for president? The companies are free to hire whom they want. And the Democrat operatives in question are free to earn a living. But it’s starting to get … weird.
SKDKnickerbocker is a powerhouse Democrat lobbying firm. Red State has already reported that the firm’s power player and close Clinton confidante Hilary Rosen is working with the airlines, as is SKDKnickerbocker managing director Jill Zuckman. So is former Obama campaign honcho Jim Messina.
Now United Airlines has hired former White House Press Secretary Josh Ernest as its Chief Communications Officer.Jim Messina.
America has a Republican in the White House and Republican control of both houses of Congress. Yet The Big 3 U.S. Airlines are staffing up with strategists who loathe Republicans. It doesn’t make sense.
The Big 3 – Delta, United and American Airlines – have a significant public policy fight on their hands. They want to squash so-called “Open Skies” agreements around the globe. As Pat Brady explains in Crain’s Chicago Business:
Open Skies is a framework designed to eliminate excessive bureaucratic involvement in airline decision-making about routes, capacity and pricing in international markets. Since 1992, the U.S. has pursued over 120 Open Skies partnerships around the world. These bilateral agreements have vastly expanded international passenger and cargo flights to and from the U.S., promoting increased travel and trade, enhancing productivity and spurring high-quality job opportunities and economic growth.
Squashing Open Skies would be anti-competitive and anti-consumer. It’s also unnecessary. America doesn’t need to eliminate Open Skies agreements to deal fairly with airlines from foreign countries, as the Trump administration showed recently when Trump advisor Peter Navarro “led the policy coordination committee process that produced a deal to resolve the U.S. dispute with Qatar over the Open Skies Agreement, which was hailed as a win for all sides involved.”
It looks increasingly as though the Big 3 are “putting the band back together” and joining the Trump-hating so-called resistance. But thus far, the Big 3 have been unsuccessful in their lobbying efforts on Open Skies.
The US and the United Arab Emirate have come to an agreement to resolve a years-old spat over alleged Emirati government subsidies to its airlines and accusations of unfair competition:
The deal closely mirrors one reached in January between the U.S. and Qatar. For the UAE, the agreement averts the more serious step U.S. airlines wanted: re-opening the open skies treaties, which could ultimately lead to less favorable conditions for Persian Gulf airl
The deal is expected to be announced Monday when the Emirati foreign minister visits Washington.
The airlines don’t need their anti-Trump consultants anymore and should just can them.