American airline group criticises White House competitiveness initiatives.

by David Shepardson

American airline group criticises White House competitiveness initiatives

Employees at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, check passengers in as the Southwest Airlines logo can be seen in the background on April 17, 2018. Mark Makela for Reuters

D.C., February 1 (Reuters) – Major U.S. airlines were represented by a group that on Wednesday denounced White House ideas on industry competition as “short-sighted” and claimed they would “drive-up costs and decrease choices” for consumers.

After DOT in 2021 recommended requiring airlines to refund costs for delayed bags, the White House announced on Wednesday that the Transportation Department (USDOT) will propose new regulations to prohibit airlines from charging family members to sit close to small children.

Airlines for America (A4A), a coalition of airlines including Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), United Airlines (UAL.O), American Airlines (AAL.O), Southwest Airlines (LUV.N), and others, said that the federal government should concentrate on 21st-century policies and procedures that advance our country’s aviation system.

According to A4A, the airlines that make up its member carriers “make every effort to accommodate customers travelling together, especially those flying with children, without additional charges.”

The Biden administration has taken actions that, according to them, will increase competition in the aviation sector. 16 peak-hour flights at congested Newark Airport were transferred to Spirit Airlines after the U.S. Justice Department sued JetBlue Airways (JBLU.O) to dissolve the American Airlines Northeast Alliance (SAVE.N).

The White House should get the facts straight amid attempts to impose new rules and policies on the aviation industry in our country, according to A4A on Wednesday. The White House chose not to respond.

In a separate statement published on Wednesday, A4A argued that “there is no proof of a market failure or unfair or deceptive activities” in response to remarks made regarding airline competition by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on CNBC. USDOT remained silent.

Congress is being urged more frequently to strengthen consumer safeguards for airlines as a result of a string of mishaps, including the holiday meltdown at Southwest that forced the cancellation of more than 16,000 flights.

Buttigieg and airlines have already argued about this summer’s flight cancellations. Even though some of his detractors claim he hasn’t been harsh enough on airlines, Buttigieg advocated for the adoption of consumer protections by airlines.

On Tuesday, senators in the United States unveiled comprehensive legislation that would mandate refunds for passengers on delayed flights, forbid airlines from further reducing the number of aeroplane seats, and grant customers new legal recourse against airlines for deceptive business practises.

According to A4A, implementing government-controlled pricing, creating a private right of action, and dictating private sector contracts will diminish competition, unavoidably result in increased ticket costs, and reduce services to small and rural towns.

by David Shepardson

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