America

Airlines Seek Policy Reforms, But Congress Is, Well, Busy

When it comes to bankruptcy, the U.S. airline industry has frequent filer status. All of the major carriers (except Southwest Airlines) have made at least one round trip through bankruptcy court.

This year, however, the industry is getting stronger. Thanks to a hefty fees for bags, flight changes and leg room, airlines are finding ways to squeeze out modest profits.

But airlines insist they remain over-taxed and over-regulated – and under-appreciated. On Tuesday, the industry's trade association – Airlines For America – invited journalists to the National Press Club to hear more about the case for a "national airline policy."

As part of a campaign for such a policy, Nick Calio, CEO of A4A, and Dave Barger, CEO of JetBlue, released a video, featuring the two of them kvetching about Congress. They say that for a $300 ticket, a passenger must pay $61 in federal taxes. "That's too high," Calio says.

The trade group wants Congress to: 1) cut aviation taxes 2) reduce regulation 3) update the air-traffic-control system 4) push for changes that would allow U.S. carriers to compete with foreign carriers and 5) develop more energy sources to reduce fuel costs.

A4A's latest plea for attention came at a bad time for lawmakers, who already were quite busy over on Capitol Hill – wrestling with the legislative joystick and perhaps pushing the entire economy into a nosedive.

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