May 22, 2014
ALPA Continues Push for Transparent Airfare
Association warns that proposed DOT rule may lead to less transparency, increased airfares, and harm U.S. aviation jobs
WASHINGTON—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) issued the following statement in response to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) May 21 announcement about its notice of proposed rulemaking regarding airfare advertisements.
The DOT released a 118-page proposed rule yesterday that claims to benefit the traveling public. In ALPA’s view, on the surface, the proposed rule sounds consumer-focused, but the regulatory burden may potentially increase airfare costs for consumers and/or reduce air service. Both would be negative outcomes for customers, airlines, and airline employees, including 51,000 ALPA pilots.
In a pricing environment that is highly volatile and subject to competitive response and public outcry, raising fares is often not possible, which means airlines could have to swallow the regulatory burden or cut service if forced to adhere to the new proposed rule, which appears potentially costly and burdensome without providing a real benefit to consumers.
“The irony of the proposed rule for airline transparency for à la carte voluntary passenger options is not lost upon us,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA president. “It is in stark contrast to the mandate DOT put on airlines in the 2012 rule that prohibited them from itemizing involuntary government-imposed taxes more prominently than the airfare itself. This proposed policy is backwards and shortsighted and we urge the DOT to consider the potential long-term ramifications of regulatory burdens, which include reduction of service.
“It’s a painful but obvious formula,” Moak continued. “Small and medium-sized communities are the first to feel the brunt of reduction of service as they are often the least profitable communities. That inevitably leads to a reduction in jobs. We’ve seen it before and it will happen again. The regulatory requirements should not make the industry weaker. Instead, the government should consider pro-aviation regulations that recognize the industry as a national and global economic engine.”
ALPA remains committed to providing the traveling public with a positive travel experience, but maintains that the vast majority of DOT’s existing consumer rights regulations are misguided and provide little, if any, benefit to passengers. The rising burden of such regulations is undermining the U.S. airline industry’s ability to compete globally, become sustainably profitable, and expand its workforce. ALPA will further study this new 118-page rule with these concerns in mind.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing over 51,000 pilots at 32 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.
CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703/481-4440 or Media@alpa.org
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