Predictions for travel and aerospace in 2018, and the age of Trump, are an unsolvable puzzle

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As the administration of US President Donald Trump marches toward its first-year milestone, the effects of its policies on travel and aviation vary widely. His cabinet has attempted to institute three travel bans, the third of which was upheld by the US Supreme Court in late 2017, while litigation against the restrictions continues in appellate courts.

Those travel bans, other policies and general posturing by the Trump Administration appear to have affected travel patterns to the US. Despite high levels of global travel growth, inbound international travel to the country fell during 1H2017. At the same time, US airlines enjoyed a bump in business travellers immediately after Mr Trump’s election, and most US airlines were on a positive unit revenue trajectory in late 2017.

At this point, the start of 2018, US airlines are calculating the benefits of new tax regulations recently passed by the US Congress, and awaiting the outcome of Congressional debate over Mr Trump’s proposal to privatise the US ATC system.

American, Delta and United are also continuing efforts to gain traction in their years-long push to gain government support of their claims that Emirates, Etihad and Qatar are unfairly subsidised.

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