WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2016 – Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines cautioned that portions of the administration’s proposals could harm customers by reregulating how airlines sell their products, driving up the cost of air travel.
A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio noted that air travel remains one of the best consumer bargains out there, as fares are down 6 percent in 2016, after being down more than 5 percent last year. In fact, the Department of Transportation’s own data shows that flying costs considerably less than when the government last dictated pricing or distribution, as average roundtrip domestic fares fell 40 percent from 1979 – 2015, when adjusted for inflation.
“A4A and our members remain committed to working closely with DOT and all stakeholders to further enhance the customer experience, while maintaining the highest levels of safety for the 2.2. million passengers who take to the skies each day,” said Calio. “It would be difficult to find an industry that is more transparent than the airline industry; customers always know exactly what they are paying for before they buy. Further, the fact that a record number of people are flying underscores that customers are benefiting every day from affordable fares and the ability to choose among carriers, amenities and service options that best meet their needs. Dictating to the airline industry distribution and commercial practices would only benefit those third parties who distribute tickets, not the flying public.”
A4A has consistently advocated that airlines, like all other private businesses, have the right to sell their product where they choose, and most airlines provide the lowest fares on their most direct and most inexpensive distribution channel—their websites. While many airlines provide their products to Global Distribution Systems for distribution through travel agencies, there is a cost to doing so, which ultimately means consumers are paying a higher fare.
“Competition is alive and well in the airline industry, and all pricing information is available to consumer at the click of a button,” said Calio. “Consumers have multiple information sources independent of airline sites. Airlines have different business models and must be allowed to continue offering optional services in a manner that makes sense for both their customers and their business. Efforts designed to reregulate how airlines distribute their products and services are bad for airline customers, employees, the communities we serve and our overall U.S. economy.”
A recent J.D. Power report affirms that airline customer satisfaction at a 10-year high and the American Customer Satisfaction Index® (ACSI) in April reaching its highest level in 22 years. The findings of these two independent reports are consistent with those of the December 2015 Ipsos survey commissioned by A4A, which indicated that 80 percent of 2015 flyers were satisfied with their overall travel experience.
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. U.S. airlines fly 2.4 million passengers and more than 58,000 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, Congress, the Administration and other groups to improve aviation for the traveling and shipping public.