October 2nd, 2013

Think About It……..                                                                   October 2, 2013

Something you can’t help but think about as you fly around the country is the underlying health of the U.S. airline industry.  Many of our most respected airlines have been or are now in bankruptcy and some show signs of, very slow, or no recovery; United, American, Delta, Aloha and more. Fortunately one of the most healthy and growing is our own Alaska Airlines, and it enjoys strong loyalty among users.

Everyday, the U.S. airline industry flies nearly 1.8 million passengers to where they need to go. Our airlines create more than 10 million jobs, and are responsible for $1 trillion in annual economic activity.

These are compelling numbers, and yet, many leaders in the airline industry feel the airlines are simply a source of tax revenue rather than a crucial component of the machinery that keeps our American economy humming.

The airlines are setting out to change that attitude of the federal government through “Airlines for America”, the group that represents all major U.S. airlines.  The group is pushing for a National Airline Policy that will enhance the industry’s economic health.

Their thinking goes like this:  With a comprehensive policy, the airlines will have a better idea of the operating environment for the next 15 to 20 years. This is very important and will mean more investment by the airlines, provide improved service for customers, a better work environment for employees and a better place to invest for owners.

The basic tenets of the National Airline Policy are to:  1) stabilize taxes and fees paid by you and the airlines;  2) reform the industry’s regulatory burden and government red tape;  3) modernize our nations air traffic control system;  4) stabilize fuel prices; and 5) enhance the ability of domestic airlines to compete globally.

So, what does this mean to you?  Well, among other benefits, you should see reduced flight times, enhanced reliability and on-time performance, and more customer amenities, plus have the comfort of knowing that your airline is financially sound and will be around for a long time.

You may even see fewer taxes.  The average airline ticket, now gets hit with 17 different aviation taxes and fees. They add up to about 23%—-or $60.00—–of a typical round-trip ticket. That’s higher than the so-called “sin taxes” imposed on alcohol and tobacco.

A new policy, with the federal government, should also ensure modern infrastructure. It may surprise you to learn that our nation’s air traffic-control system is based on 1950’s radar,  that is safe but very inefficient. An FAA study found that delays cost the United States more than $31 billion annually. We need to all join in the efforts to keep our airlines strong by visiting  http://www.nationalairlinepolicy.com/

Think About It!          John C. Davis   10-2-13

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