Airlines Tell DOT: Accelerate ATC Modernization. No New Taxes and Fees

No new taxes and fees, which would burden an already overtaxed industry and travelers/shippers and a fully funded and accelerated modernization of the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system, are two key objectives of the Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade association for the leading U.S. airlines.

The objectives were part of the ATA’s comments on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Secretary LaHood’s initiative in bringing aviation stakeholders together to discuss the financial health of commercial aviation. The ATA noted that commercial aviation is an economic engine that drives 8 percent of global gross domestic product.

Airline executives participating in the DOT sponsored forum also called for enhanced oversight of energy markets to excessive speculation and the resulting volatility of oil prices. Airlines also want elimination of arcane restrictions on airlines’ ability to operate efficiently in the global marketplace and a global sectoral approach to climate change for aviation developed through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

“We appreciate that Secretary LaHood is taking this step to address the future health and competitiveness of the U.S. aviation industry,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May. “The formation of a federal advisory committee of government and industry stakeholders, who will seek solutions to the challenges facing U.S. aviation in order to restore jobs and the financial health of our industry, is essential. Ultimately, a healthy airline industry will help drive the nation’s economic recovery.”

Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. However, the U.S. airline industry has lost nearly $60 billion since 2001, the ATA said.

ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. For additional information about the industry, visit