In a meeting with airline executives Thursday morning, President Trump vowed to help rebuild the country’s dilapidated airports as part of his campaign to increase infrastructure spending.
“Among the attendees were Brad Tilden, chairman and CEO of Alaska Airlines; Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines; Robin Hayes, president and CEO of JetBlue Airways; Gary C. Kelly, chairman and CEO of Southwest Airlines; Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines; and Nicholas E. Calio, president of Airlines for America. American Airlines was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict,” reports The Hill.
The meeting was just one of many Trump has scheduled with leading entrepreneurs, investors, and business executives. During his first month in the Oval Office, Trump met with representatives from American auto companies, executives from social media giants, and even entertainment moguls.
These so-called “listening sessions” have illustrated the new administration’s willingness to bring private sector experts into the fold if it means running the country more effectively.
Blasting the FAA’s expensive and inefficient modernization efforts, Trump suggested that air traffic control systems and airport runways require a multi-billion-dollar injection of funds so that air travel could be more seamless. In addition, the president hinted at tax breaks for US airlines so that they may compete on a more even playing field with international competitors.
During the presidential campaign, then-candiate Trump insisted that US airports looked like “third world” travel centers compared to airports found in some parts of Southeast Asia and Europe. At the time, he stated that upgrades were necessary.
While the president has yet to announce his choice for FAA administrator, he hinted strongly at the possibility of nominating an experienced pilot with on-the-ground experience rather than a bureaucrat.