A collective appeal from U.S. airlines to the Bush administration makes the argument that the carriers can’t afford to fly new routes or maintain all flights to China and other countries that restrict access, including Brazil, Mexico and Japan. The carriers still want to keep their rights to serve these destinations, and the appeal asks the government to preserve these rights for two years. The high cost of fuel is driving the appeals process. U.S. airlines will pay more than $61 billion for fuel in 2008, a staggering increase of $20 billion over last year.
By all accounts, this couldn’t have been an easy decision. These international routes have been valuable for U.S. carriers, primarily because of their business bookings. China has also seen a spike in business due to the upcoming Summer Olympics in Beijing.
The appeal is expected to get a sympathetic response in Washington, although privately-held Spirit Airlines criticized the proposal as being anti-competitive.