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Air Transport Association Says Passenger Bill Will Not Improve Customer Service

( Flexibility Is Essential for Irregular Operations during Severe Weather Events.
WASHINGTON, April 20/ eTN — James C. May, president and CEO of the Air Transport Association (ATA), the trade association for the leading U.S. airlines, today testified before the Aviation Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee concerning customer service. The effects of severe weather events and an outdated air traffic control (ATC) system can disrupt the plans of air travelers and the airlines whose job is to transport them to their destinations. As frustrating as these events have been, government-imposed, inflexible operating standards will not improve and will likely aggravate these severe weather events. Airlines need operational flexibility in order to get passengers, crew members and airplanes to their destinations. Recently, carriers reviewed their policies and procedures, updated contingency plans, and engaged staff at key airports in discussions about dealing with severe weather situations. In addition, ATA is looking forward to reviewing the DOT Inspector General report, asked for by the ATA, that will make recommended improvements to customer service. “No passenger likes a delayed flight, but what they like even less is not being able to get to their destinations at all," said ATA President and CEO James C. May. “The proposed hard limit on ground delays will force airlines to inconvenience planeloads of people to satisfy the demand of just one passenger to deplane. We do not think this is good customer service." May continued, “Congress cannot legislate good weather or the best way to respond to bad weather because every situation is unique. Instead, we call on Congress to reduce flight delays by authorizing the transformation to a satellite-based ATC system that will help relieve the traffic jam in our skies that frustrates millions of passengers each year. We cannot allow the FAA to be the administrator of inconvenience." ATA members transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic.

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