WASHINGTON, April 19, 2016 – Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today issued the following statement on passage of the Senate Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill, which misses a historic opportunity to enact bold legislation that would address critically needed reforms to our nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system.
A4A has consistently advocated for a not-for-profit, independent ATC organization – with guaranteed reliable funding – as the best way to remove politics from ATC services and to keep our system on track to meet the growing demand for air travel. The number of passengers has climbed for the sixth consecutive year putting our ATC system under unprecedented stress, and A4A continues to urge Members of Congress to take action before we face a crisis.
“We commend Chairman Thune and his colleagues for holding the line against an unnecessary airport tax hike on the traveling public, and look forward to working with leaders in both the House and Senate to produce a final bill that delivers the critically important reforms to our nation’s ATC system that airline customers deserve,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “We continue to believe that now is the time to take bold action to bring our nation’s skies into the 21st Century and to reclaim the United States role as a leader in aviation technology and innovation – before we face a crisis.”
Calio cautioned against provisions in the bill designed to reregulate airline pricing and services which could have unintended consequences for airline customers, employees, the communities we serve and our overall U.S. economy. Just last week, A4A announced the results of a nationwide study conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, which found that flying is affordable and accessible, and that 80 percent of airline customers were satisfied with their air travel experience.
“Air travel is more accessible and affordable than ever before,” said Calio. “Despite the high level of satisfaction among airline passengers, the Senate bill contains unnecessary provisions that would take a step backward to pre-1978 regulation polices and make it more difficult for consumers to afford to fly.”
As the Ipsos study affirms, for the first time in history the demographics of those who fly mirror the general population of the U.S., demonstrating that flying today is both affordable and accessible to the many, not just the elite few. The majority of people who flew in 2015 (55 percent) had household incomes of $75,000 or less.
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. Airlines fly more than 2.2 million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo each day. Airlines for America (A4A) advocates on behalf of the American airline industry as a model of safety, customer service and environmental responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives our nation’s economy and global competitiveness.
A4A works collaboratively with the airlines, labor groups, Congress and the Administration to improve air travel for everyone.