It regularly lobbies on behalf of the industry for spending on new technology to manage America’s clogged airways and has embarked on a campaign ahead of forthcoming U.S. elections to save jobs threatened by forced cuts to the U.S. defense budget.
For Airbus, being accepted into the fold would boost its U.S. credentials and help heal the wounds of a bitter tanker contest and trade disputes against Boeing.
The AIA regularly meets government officials on issues like defense spending but the head of Airbus Americas dismissed fears that European governments could interfere with the process, saying they had full diplomatic channels to press their views.
“We find it strange that AIA seems reluctant to have EADS and especially Airbus as a member since Airbus is the U.S. aerospace industry’s largest export customer,” Barry Eccleston said, adding “We do meet all the qualifications”.
“We buy $12 billion worth of stuff a year from U.S. aerospace companies, just about all of whom are members of Marion’s organization,” he added.
Ecclestone and Blakey were speaking in separate sessions with Reuters reporters on Tuesday.
U.S. aerospace analyst Scott Hamilton defended Airbus’ bid for AIA membership, which costs up to $400,000 a year.
“There are key issues that Airbus and Boeing have in common: flight safety, air traffic management, environment, bio-fuel. There is no reason why Airbus Americas shouldn’t be a part of this group to participate in lobbying Congress for these kinds of issues,” he wrote.