Southwest Airlines chief executive Gary Kelly warns that if proposed cap and trade legislation is finalised by US legislators, it will trigger job cuts and harm the country's gross domestic product.

Kelly made that assessment today during a speech at The Wings Club in New York City, noting those schemes would be a disaster for the industry.

The administration of US President Barack Obama strongly advocated for the creation of a domestic cap and trade scheme prior to this week's United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, but no measures have taken effect.

Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer introduced cap and trade legislation in October following legislation that passed the House in June.

Kelly says that cap and trade is key issue for the airline lobbying group the Air Transport Association of America (ATA.

"We don't have a lot of progress to report today," says Kelly. "But we're going to keep going after it."

At the time the US House passed its version of cap and trade legislation, the ATA estimated it would cost US airlines approximately $5 billion in 2012 and $10 billion in 2020.

Kelly also took the opportunity to stress the need for FAA to fund, develop and deliver the country's next generation air traffic control system, citing a lack of progress in the system's development.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news