Viewpoint

Trump Surprise Creates Opportunities, Threats

Heading into Election Day in the United States, conventional wisdom had former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton handily defeating businessman Donald Trump, coasting her way into the White House while paving the way for Democrats to control the U.S. Senate and many seats in the U.S. House.  There’s a reason why elections aren’t determined by pollsters or among the political pundits, but in the voting booth. In the end, Trump defeated Clinton and the Republicans held their majorities in both congressional houses.

Daniel B. Fisher, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Aeronautical Repair Station Association
 
While most in Washington were preparing for the Clinton administration 2.0, little focus was given to the possibility that Trump would be the 45th U.S. president.  Consequently, policymakers, lobbyists, lawmakers and bureaucrats alike are scrambling to figure out what a Trump administration will look like and what campaign promises will become legitimate policy proposals.  
 
As far as aviation policy is concerned, Trump’s record offers very few clues (we do know that he owns several aircraft). Nonetheless, a clean slate provides the aviation maintenance industry (and the larger aviation sector) with a unique opportunity to shape policies and educate the new administration about repair stations and the significant role they play in ensuring aviation safety And, of course, don’t forget about the maintenance industry’s job creation and economic stimulation in communities across the county.   
 
However, some of Trump’s campaign rhetoric, particularly his views on international trade, could indicate a skepticism toward bilateral aviation safety agreements and other international accords that permit the efficient movement of maintenance services and parts across the world.  It is imperative that aviation companies and trade associations articulate how American companies, workers and taxpayers benefit from international aviation accords, and the global aviation maintenance networks’ contributions to safe and efficient air travel.
 
Despite having no track record in elected politics or policy development, Trump has a chance to utilize his business instincts and govern as an entrepreneurially-minded, free market capitalist who supports global industries and the United States’ role in the worldwide aviation sector. While there’s uncertainty, in the least, the next U.S. president likely won’t pursue new business aviation taxes. Ideally, he’ll advocate policies that further the global competitiveness of the U.S. aviation maintenance industry and maintain operational freedom for repair stations.
 
Sustained and effective engagement by aviation companies and organizations is imperative.  After all, “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu!”
 
Daniel B. Fisher is senior managing associate of Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, P.L.C. providing client advocacy services, public policy counsel, and strategic advice on legislative and regulatory matters. As a registered federal lobbyist, he advocates for the Aeronautical Repair Station Association, Associated Equipment Distributors and the American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association.

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