Heading into Election Day in the U.S., conventional wisdom had former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton handily defeating businessman Donald J. 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 House of Representatives. But Trump defeated Clinton, and the Republicans held their majorities in both houses.
While most people in Washington were preparing for Clinton Administration 2.0, little focus was given to the possibility that Trump would be president. As a result, they are scrambling to figure out what the new administration will look like and what campaign promises will become policy proposals.
Regarding aviation policy, Trump’s record offers few clues (we do know 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 major role they play in ensuring aviation safety And, of course, do not forget the industry’s job creation and economic stimulation across the country.
However, some of Trump’s campaign rhetoric, particularly on international trade, could indicate skepticism toward bilateral aviation safety agreements and other accords that permit the efficient movement of maintenance services and parts around the world. Aviation companies and trade associations must articulate how U.S. companies, workers and taxpayers benefit from international aviation accords and global maintenance networks contribute to safe and efficient air travel.
Despite having no track record in elected politics or policy development, Trump has a chance to use his business instincts and govern as an entrepreneur and free-market capitalist who supports global industries and the U.S.’s role in the worldwide aviation sector. At least the next president likely will not pursue new business aviation taxes. Ideally, he will advocate further the global competitiveness of the U.S. aviation maintenance industry and 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, vice president of legislative affairs, Aeronautical Repair Station Association