By David J. PhillipAssociated PressAirline executives said on Tuesday they are increasingly concerned about a threat to their profitability that comes from China.
The International Air Transport Association said it would cut off commercial flights from the Chinese market in 2018 unless Chinese regulators act.
The airline industry’s biggest customer is China’s government-run airline, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
That’s a big threat to the industry’s bottom line, and the industry has been forced to adjust its flights to avoid an increase in demand.
In a statement, American Airlines CEO David O’Brien said, “I am deeply concerned about the potential impact on our business from a potential Chinese regulatory crackdown.
As the industry is a global leader, it is critical to be in a position to protect our shareholders and the global economy.”
The company said it has “no choice” but to shut its flights in 2018, unless regulators in China are able to act quickly to improve safety.
“The airline industry has a strong track record of being able to operate safely and responsibly, and I am confident in our ability to maintain our competitive edge,” O’Briens statement said.
The United States’ airline industry is the second-largest in the world behind Japan’s and has the fourth-largest passenger plane fleet in the U.K.
Airline companies say they need to find other ways to keep flights from China, which is a key trading partner for the U