The following is a letter from members of the CEO Council for Growth to the Greater Philadelphia Congressional Delegation. 

As business, higher education, and civic leaders from across the Greater Philadelphia area, we urge you to support the removal of restrictions on the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), which would allow the region to again serve as an entry point to our nation for transatlantic air service upon the Trump Administration’s allowance of international air travel. Permitting this important world-class gateway to restore air service from Europe is critical to our region’s ability to quickly recover from the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As members of the CEO Council for Growth (CEO Council), we are engaged advocates who are committed to innovation in business, improving regional mobility, and fostering talent as key opportunities that define our competitive advantage and drive economic growth. The CEO Council leads the 11-county, tri-state Greater Philadelphia region forward by envisioning a stronger, more competitive community, convening decision makers, taking action, and advocating for policies and practices that strengthen our regional economy.

The Greater Philadelphia region is a key international gateway to enter and access the U.S. market. We are at the heart of one of the largest economic areas in the world—the total gross regional product within a 200-mile radius of our region would rank 4th in the world if considered a single national economy. 40% of the U.S. population is within a day’s drive of Greater Philadelphia and 60% of the U.S. and Canadian populations are accessible via a two-hour flight. Simply put, Greater Philadelphia is one of the most important market areas in the United States.

PHL’s prominence as a world-class international airport has been critical to our region’s emergence as a global first-tier 21st-century innovation economy. Transatlantic service to our region has been especially important to our competitive advantage. American Airlines’ main transatlantic gateway to Europe is PHL. In 2019, no other American Airlines hub had the level of nonstop destinations or frequencies to Europe. PHL also serves as key spoke on the networks for year-round service on British Airways, Aer Lingus, Lufthansa and Qatar Airways. PHL operated 26 transatlantic routes by 6 airlines in 2019. It is estimated that the economic impact of these overseas services was nearly $2 billion of revenue/output for the Philadelphia MSA in 2019.

PHL was 10th among U.S. airports with respect to total arriving passengers from transatlantic markets at the end of last year. Yet, PHL is currently the only airport among these ten airports currently restricted from accepting flights from transatlantic destinations. For airlines to reestablish connectivity to the U.S. market through one of their most utilized hubs on the east coast, it is critical for PHL to be approved as a gateway.

Continued restrictions on PHL could mean the airlines will move their transatlantic service to markets away from the Greater Philadelphia area, perhaps permanently. That would mean we risk losing important connections to new and existing business opportunities, economic benefits from tourism and hospitality, and critical access to international talent attending our higher education institutions and contributing to our workplaces.

Our regional economy significantly depends on transatlantic air service at PHL. We thank you for considering PHL as a secure and healthy entry point for European travel and economic growth.

Dario C. Altieri, M.D., The Wistar Institute
Bruce D. Armon, Esquire, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP
Madeline Bell, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Gregory S. Bentley, Bentley Systems, Incorporated
Sarah E. Bouchard, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Christopher L. Bruner, Ernst & Young LLP
Deanna Byrne, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Michael C. Carbone, TD Bank
Robert E. Chadwick, New Castle County Chamber of Commerce
David L. Cohen, Esquire, Comcast Corporation
Steven H. Collis, AmerisourceBergen Company
Robert J. Delany, PFM Group
Sean Denham, Grant Thornton LLP
James F. Dever, Jr., Bank of America
Richard M. Englert, Ed.D., Temple University
Gerard A. Fasano, Leidos
Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, CFA, Citizens Bank
Christopher H. Franklin, Essential Utilities
John A. Fry, Drexel University
Christopher Gheysens, Wawa
Amy Gutmann, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Janet Haas, M.D., William Penn Foundation
Susan Hakkarainen, Ph.D., Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.
Curtis Hess, University City Science Center
Daniel J. Hilferty, Independence Health Group
Thomas J. Holt, Jr., Holt Logistics Corporation
Ali A. Houshmand, Ph.D., Rowan University
Mike Innocenzo, PECO
Stephen L. Johnson, American Airlines
Andrew C. Kassner, Esquire, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
John J. “Jack” Lynch III, Main Line Health
Kevin Leininger, IntegriChain
William J. Marrazzo, WHYY, Inc.
Frank J. Mattei, KPMG
Ashley A. McEvoy, Johnson & Johnson
Robert J. McNeill, Deloitte LLP
Joseph G. Meterchick, PNC Bank
Bruce Meyer, M.D., MBA, Thomas Jefferson University & Jefferson Health
Curtis J. Myers, Fulton Bank
Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, ChristianaCare
David C. Pacitti, Siemens Healthineers
Joseph G. Pulicare, PE, WSP USA
Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., Saint Joseph’s University
RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, Ben Franklin Technology Partners
William R. Sasso, Esquire, Stradley Ronon
Gerard H. Sweeney, Brandywine Realty Trust
Matthew A. Taylor, Esquire, Duane Morris LLP
Nicole Tranchitella, Accenture
Daniel R. Tropeano, UnitedHealthcare of PA/DE
Paul A. Tufano, Esquire, AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies
Mark A. Turner, WSFS Bank
John L. Walsh, Jr. UGI Corporation
David P. Webb, Boston Consulting Group
Craig E. White, Philadelphia Gas Works
Barton J. Winokour, Esquire, Dechert LLP
Rob Wonderling, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia