The United States’ airline industry and its employees operate in a
hypercompetitive international marketplace. The U.S. airline industry has lost
$53 billion since 1999, on a net basis. Only three years out of the last ten
have been profitable. This is an industry that has been unable to meet its cost
of capital and is known for not generating healthy margins, even in the best of
times. It is very clear that the airline industry continues to face significant
challenges. Competition from foreign airlines, which are often state owned or
heavily state sponsored and vertically integrated, and operate from countries
with low or nonexistent tax and regulatory burdens, is growing rapidly and
impeding international growth for U.S. airlines. In addition, foreign airlines
are expanding into markets previously dominated by U.S. airlines, threatening
our carriers in their own backyard. U.S. airlines, as a result, find themselves
in survival mode, adapting to the global marketplace that presents an uneven
playing field for U.S. airlines.
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