Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

718 7th St NW
Washington, DC, 20001
United States

(202) 545-6761

Hammer Strategies leads public affairs campaigns on global policy issues, antitrust and merger reviews at the FCC, FTC, Justice Department, CFIUS, and European Commission.

In Airline Subsidies, All Politics Is Local

Every Word Counts

Every Word Counts takes a fresh look at how media & entertainment are evolving, small businesses, and how technology is changing the way we communicate, digest information, and come together in common spaces. The views expressed here are of the authors', not any client or other party.

In Airline Subsidies, All Politics Is Local

Ben Hammer

If you've been to Nats Park since Opening Day, you'd think foreign government-funded airlines are threatening to crash into the stadium, and wreck the domestic carriers. Spoiler alert: they're not.  But, if you want to see what that would be like, watch this clip from Sum of All Fears.

Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, runs down the facts and arguments eloquently in a post, "Government Support To The Airline Industry Is Common."

Solid arguments on both sides. Two natural check on these foreign carriers in the US are 1) cabotage rules that prevent non-US airlines from flying domestic-only routes and 2) merger reviews of future acquisitions of US air assets by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS). Lots of money at stake here. 

Want a first class cabin with room for your pure-bred falcons (Qatar Air has you covered)? Want lower airfare to the UAE? Want more competition for US airlines in international routes to drive down prices and pressure airlines to improve service, food and choice?

If you answer yes to any of these you may already implicitly support foreign and domestic government funding for airlines. 

Airports and a diversity of choice among carriers are primary inputs into a city's economy. That was a key consideration in the Justice Department requiring a recently merged airline to open up slots for competitors at DCA. 

It's not a coincidence that frequent DCA flyer were among the select few that received these bennies. Every elected, appointed and senior staffer and lobbyist in DC flies through DCA regularly. 

After all, all politics is local. Even Ronald Reagan, who was honored by name at DCA after attempting to break the air traffic controllers' union, and Tip O'Neill would agree on that.