NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) - U.S. aviation executives will meet with President Donald Trump on Thursday to discuss the industry’s aging airports and air traffic control reform, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Invitees include executives from the nation’s largest airlines and cargo carriers, as well as directors for several U.S. airports, according to the sources.
American Airlines Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker, who previously called Trump’s 90-day halt on travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries “divisive,” will not attend due to a scheduling conflict.
“Doug would very much like to be there, but it’s just a matter of this already being on the calendar,” spokesman Matt Miller said in a phone interview.
“Doug shares President Trump’s commitment to modernizing our nation’s infrastructure and looks forward to working with his administration to ensure all Americans have access to safe and efficient air travel.”
The meeting comes at a time of heightened tension within the industry as heads of the largest three U.S. passenger carriers -- American Airlines Group Inc, United Continental Holdings Inc and Delta Air Lines Inc -- have sought to pressure the new administration into denouncing the three major Middle Eastern carriers, which they accuse of having been unfairly subsidized by their governments.
The three airlines, Qatar, Etihad and Emirates, have denied these claims.
The new administration has not yet addressed U.S. carriers’ concerns, but White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Wednesday told reporters that it will be “something decided when they meet, what they’ll talk about.”
“The president wants to talk about economic growth, job creation,” Spicer said at the daily White House press briefing. He did not say which executives would attend the meeting.
During the presidential race, Trump often decried the state of American airport infrastructure, saying U.S. airports “are like from a third-world country.”
Reporting by Alana Wise and David Shepardson; Editing by Alan Crosby