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Letter to Ray LaHood, Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation - US Airways Efforts to acquire London and Philadelphia International Travel

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) today joined 16 members of Pennsylvania's congressional delegation in supporting a second daily flight from Philadelphia International Airport to London's Heathrow Airport.

US Airways submitted an application to the European Union on Aug. 23 requesting additional slots for Philadelphia-Heathrow service. In a bipartisan letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the members of Congress urged the department to support expanding Philly-London flights.

"The city of Philadelphia and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania enjoy a unique cultural and business relationship with the United Kingdom, dating back to the earliest days of the country. This relationship accounts for thousands of jobs and visitors to Philadelphia. ... A new Heathrow service means more travelers, more jobs and more revenue for Philadelphia, for Pennsylvania and for the tri-state region," they write.

The letter is also signed by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and U.S. Representatives Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), Robert Brady (D-Pa.), Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.), Tim Holden (D-Pa.), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), Tom Marino (R-Pa.), Todd Platts (R-Pa.), Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), Bill Shuster (D-Pa.), and Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.).

The full text of the letter is below.

September 4, 2012

The Honorable Ray LaHood
Secretary
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE
Washington, D.C. 20590
Dear Secretary LaHood,

We are writing to express our full support for US Airways' efforts to acquire London Heathrow Airport (Heathrow) slots to begin additional service between Philadelphia International Airport (Philadelphia) and Heathrow.

As a condition of the 2010 Department of Transportation and European Union approval of the American Airlines/British Airways joint venture, a divestiture of Heathrow slots was required. The Aug. 23 application submitted by US Airways to the European Union represents a unique opportunity for Philadelphia to receive a second daily Heathrow flight.

The city of Philadelphia and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania enjoy a unique cultural and business relationship with the United Kingdom, dating back to the earliest days of the country. This relationship accounts for thousands of jobs and visitors to Philadelphia. In Philadelphia and Pennsylvania alone:

* There are close to 150 U.K.-owned businesses in the greater Philadelphia area and over 1,500 U.K.-owned businesses in Pennsylvania, providing close to 40,000 jobs in the state;
* Pennsylvania ranks fourth in an analysis among states of the number of workers employed by British companies;
* In 2011, the value of Pennsylvania's exports to the U.K. was $1.7 billion, making the U.K. the third largest market for Pennsylvania exports; and
* Over 90,000 British residents visited Philadelphia in 2011.

Despite the strong communities of interest between Philadelphia and Pennsylvania with the U.K., US Airways has only been able to acquire enough slots for a single round-trip to Heathrow; fewer than other comparable markets. US Airways' proposal addresses this inequity. A new Heathrow service means more travelers, more jobs and more revenue for Philadelphia, for Pennsylvania and for the tri-state region.

We encourage you to support US Airways' application to obtain slots from the European Union for Philadelphia-Heathrow service.

Sincerely,

U.S. Representative Patrick Meehan
U.S. Representative Robert Brady
Senator Pat Toomey
Senator Robert Casey
U.S. Representative Bill Shuster
U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah
U.S. Representative Jim Gerlach
U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz
U.S. Representative Tim Holden
U.S. Representative Charlie Dent
U.S. Representative Glenn Thompson
U.S. Representative Todd Platts
U.S. Representative Tom Marino
U.S. Representative Lou Barletta
U.S. Representative Mike Kelly
U.S. Representative Jason Altmire
U.S. Representative Michael Fitzpatrick


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