Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today applauded House and Senate leaders for producing an omnibus bill that funds the federal government, while holding the line against unnecessary tax hikes on travelers and misguided, anti-consumer provisions diminishing transparency and competition in the marketplace.
"This is a continuation of the promise Congress made to the American people three months ago when they passed historic tax cuts," said Nicholas E. Calio, president and CEO of A4A. "We are particularly grateful to House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart, Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, and House and Senate Authorizing Committee Chairmen Bill Shuster and John Thune, for taking a stand to put passengers first by rejecting repeated calls from some in the airport community to saddle travelers with an unnecessary tax hike."
Calio noted that Congress rightly rejected the proposed doubling of the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), which is neither justified nor needed, at a time when U.S. airports are in a strong financial position, sitting on billions of dollars in record revenue collected from airline passengers. A4A noted that this bill also generously gives airports an additional $1 billion in addition to the authorized $3.3 billion in Airport Improvement Program funding.
In addition, the bill delivered a much-welcomed win for consumers by rejecting a heavy-handed proposal to regulate airline distribution practices that would force airlines to market, display and sell their products through third-party online travel agents (OTAs). These entities receive a commission on all sales and are not held to the high standards of transparency and customer service that consumers experience on airline websites.
"We thank House and Senate leaders for adopting a common-sense, consumer friendly approach to ensure that, no matter where consumers purchase their ticket, they are protected by the same standards of transparency and customer service," Calio added. "The free market is working and there has never been a better time to fly. Fares are down, competition is intense and airlines are delivering a better travel experience when our passengers take to the skies."
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