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Statement Announcing a New International Air Transportation Policy

June 22, 1970

LAST AUGUST I asked the responsible agencies of the Government to conduct a systematic review of our policies in the field of international air transportation. Such a review had not been carried out in this country since 1963. During those 7 years international aviation had grown dramatically in traffic volume, improved equipment, and fuller schedules of services.

With this growth, international aviation in the 1960's made a unique and valuable contribution to our commerce and contacts abroad and, consequently, to our national life. At the same time, as in most human activity, this rapid expansion brought some complications along with its undoubted benefits. Traffic outstripped our airport facilities and produced serious problems of congestion and delay. Differences developed concerning the appropriate roles of types of carriers in serving the expanding markets and exploring new markets. Questions arose in some quarters as to whether our basic pattern of bilateral agreements with other countries, or the nature of our supervision over international rates and fares, were suited to the changed circumstances.

All these questions needed fresh analysis. More important, it was apparent that technological developments already foreseeable would make these questions, and others like them, significant for the 1970's. Thus, a full review was essential both to meet current difficulties and to assure that our present high standards of international air service will be maintained through the next decade.

The review I requested has now been completed by a broadly representative committee under the leadership of the Department of Transportation. The committee membership included the Departments of State, Justice, Commerce, Treasury, and Defense, as well as the Bureau of the Budget, the Civil Aeronautics Board, and the Council of Economic Advisers. In its proceedings, this committee investigated in detail a very wide range of international air transport matters: our aviation agreements with other countries, the relationship of scheduled and supplemental carriers, the way in which fares are established, our policies concerning competition among carriers, and how best to expedite the movement of passengers and cargo as demands upon facilities increase. The study also dealt with such issues as carrier liability, insurance, user charges for aviation facilities, and the implications of international aviation for our balance of payments.

In the course of its work on these questions, the committee sought and weighed the views of interested parties from within and without the aviation industry, including carrier and airport officials, shippers, consumers' representatives, and governmental authorities from all levels.

I have now received and studied the report of that committee, in the form of a Statement of International Air Transportation Policy. This statement confirms that many of our past guidelines are still useful and relevant. In other cases, to meet current and foreseeable problems, new approaches have been proposed. The policy is carefully framed to conserve the opportunities of all carriers for continued growth. It is directed realistically at making a new variety of services available to passengers and shippers. It recognizes that our international air services, by their very nature, must be organized on the basis of cooperation with other nations.

In my judgment, the statement sets forth a soundly balanced policy for the future. Accordingly, I have approved it to supersede the statement of international air transport policy adopted in 1963. I am directing that this new statement of policy guidance be used henceforth by responsible officials of the Government in dealing with international aviation problems.

Note: The full text of the "Statement of International Air Transportation Policy" was made available with the President's statement.

On the same day, the White House Press Office released a summary of the policy statement's conclusions, which is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 6, p. 804), and the transcript of a news briefing on the policy by John A. Volpe, Secretary of Transportation, and Dr. Paul W. Cherington, Chairman of the Committee that prepared the "Statement of International Air Transportation Policy."

Richard Nixon, Statement Announcing a New International Air Transportation Policy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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