The Air Transport Association (ATA) commended the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for withdrawing a proposed rule on airline data collection that would have added additional costs and complexity to airlines while providing little value for the government or traveling public.
In a proposed rule, dating back to 2005, the DOT had suggested wide-reaching changes to its data collection, including among other things, gathering loyalty program information and type of fare class. The ATA commented, on behalf of its members, that the proposed changes would have led to “a substantially more expensive regulatory regime” and could have raised sensitive privacy issues by sharing customer and proprietary data.
“We applaud the DOT and Secretary LaHood for recognizing that the data-collection changes, as proposed, would have created a financial and reporting complexity burden on carriers with little value in return,” said ATA President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “We believe that there is an opportunity to increase both the quality and timeliness of data collection, including ensuring that small and regional carrier operations are included.”
ATA believes that including data from small and regional carriers – not collected today – will assist network and infrastructure planners and help DOT evaluate the Essential Air Service program with a better understanding of small markets.
ATA also urged DOT to consider making the data available in a more timely manner and said it is committed to working with airlines and the DOT on ensuring data is submitted promptly.