International Aviation:

DOT Needs More Information to Address U.S. Airlines' Problems in Doing Business Abroad

RCED-95-24: Published: Nov 29, 1994. Publicly Released: Jan 4, 1995.

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John H. Anderson, Jr
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of State's and Department of Transportation's (DOT) efforts to resolve the problems U.S. airlines face when operating in Europe and the Pacific Rim.

GAO found that: (1) U.S. airlines serving key Pacific Rim airports often face obstacles that foreign airlines operating in the United States do not, including limited access to landing and take-off slots, inadequate terminal facilities, restrictions on the performance of ground services, and delays in processing cargo; (2) although obstacles at overseas airports affect all airlines, they most adversely affect U.S. airlines because they are unable to use their superior operational efficiency as a competitive advantage; (3) these obstacles raise U.S. airlines' operating costs and provide the home-country carrier with a competitive advantage; (4) although the State Department and DOT have had some success in eliminating problems that violate bilateral accords, they have been less successful in improving U.S. airline competition in Pacific Rim countries; (5) the State Department and DOT negotiate with foreign governments for the right to perform certain services and attempt to balance U.S. airlines' competing commercial interests with the overall goal of gaining traffic rights for U.S. carriers; and (6) DOT does not collect sufficient information on U.S. airlines' obstacles at overseas airports to determine whether the problems of doing business in the Pacific Rim are pervasive or whether it is effectively using its limited resources to solve these problems.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOT implemented the recommendation.

    Recommendation: To ensure that U.S. airlines' doing-business problems receive sustained attention in an era of increasing U.S. airline activity overseas and declining government resources, the Secretary of Transportation should collect and analyze information on the status, nature, and severity of U.S. airlines' doing-business problems overseas.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation


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