United CEO: Airlines over-regulated

United Airlines CEO Glenn Tilton reiterated his call for the elimination of government regulations that he said are holding U.S. airlines back from competing with emerging international ‘super-carriers,’ according to AFX news wire. Tilton told an aviation conference that limits on open access to foreign markets and cross-border investment opportunities need to be dropped. The over-regulation, he said, is the reason no U.S. airline is among the top 20 in the world as measured by operating profitability.

He singled out the Department of Transportation’s 11-year-old international aviation policy as not reflecting changed market realities, citing it as preventing the development of carrier combinations across national borders such as KLM and Air France in Europe.

‘The restructuring of the network carriers has strengthened our ability to compete,’ said the chief executive of United and parent UAL Corp., which exited bankruptcy protection in February after 38 months of restructuring. ‘As we move to the future, we should be able to compete more effectively in the global market, not limited by regulatory ‘protections’ from international competition or international investment.’

Airlines, Tilton said, should be allowed to function ‘the same way as other global businesses—driven by the dictates of a free market, not government edicts.’