Delta Air Lines quits Airlines for America

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Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines is to leave Airlines for America (A4A), accusing the organisation of not supporting the airline on key issues, including the growth of Middle Eastern carriers.

The carrier will formally leave A4A on 26 April 2016, saying its $5 million annual dues could be better spent on improving its own services. Delta says A4A refused to support it on issues such as Middle Eastern carriers, which the airline accuses of being government subsidised, the Export-Import Bank, which Delta says is damaging to US airlines, as well as privatising air traffic control.

A4A says the news was not unexpected. A4A president and chief executive officer (CEO), Nicholas Calio says: “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 travelling and shipping public when we speak with a unified industry voice.”

Delta says: “The $5 million that Delta pays in annual dues to A4A can be better used to invest in employees and products to further enhance the Delta experience, and to support what we believe is a more efficient way of communicating in Washington on issues that are important to Delta customers and employees.”

A4A says despite Delta’s departure, it will continue its work fighting higher taxes and what it calls “unnecessary regulations” while pushing for updated infrastructure. Calio adds: “With FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] reauthorisation, we have an opportunity to address delays that cost $30 billion annually and implement transformational change to the air traffic control system that would mean greater efficiency and a better travel experience.”

Delta has also announced it will stop its Boeing 777 Atlanta to Dubai service from 11 February 2016, saying it cannot compete with Middle Eastern carriers, which it says are heavily subsidised. It says: “The 777 aircraft used to operate Atlanta to Dubai will be redeployed to other Trans-Atlantic markets where it can compete on a level playing field that’s not distorted by subsidised by state-owned airlines.”