Air Transport World

The 'C' word.

Cabotage is a cute little word of French origin used in aviation largely in the negative sense, as in, "no cabotage, period."

A few weeks ago, however, a high U.S. DOT official circled around it from another direction, as in, "let's consider cabotage."

He said more than that but the "C" word tends to jump out and grab one's attention; an emotional word that causes labor unions to reach for banners and start marching.

But isn't cabotage and all that would go with it just a natural and logical extension of the liberalization campaign the U.S. has been waging worldwide? Isn't it consistently brought up in open-skies negotiations as the one thing the U.S. could do to prove commitment to the principles of liberalization? And isn't it really a straw man, a red herring, a device used to shut down negotiations?

Jeffrey Shane, now with Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering but formerly an official of DOT and the State Dept. …

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