Advocacy Group Calls For Airport, Airline ReformsMay 16, 2019
A consumer advocacy group is calling on airports and airlines to make massive reforms to reduce travel delays on U.S. commercial flights.
FlyersRights.org, the nation’s largest nonprofit airline consumer organization, is seeking improvements in speed, reliability and affordability when it comes to delays.
In a presentation at the GAD Airport Development Conference in Chicago, FlyersRights.org president Paul Hudson – also a member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Rulemaking Advisory Committee – laid out a series of reforms he would like to see implemented.
FlyersRights.org has previously petitioned for changes because of delays, but not to this extent.
For airports, among other things Hudson is asking to:
– Mandate passenger representation on airport governing boards to offer a better perspective.
– Add a third major airport for New York and Chicago metro areas to relieve chronic and growing congestion delays.
– Modify for repeal US law and regulations prohibiting federal government ownership and operation of airports, and increase federal government new airport planning funding from 50% to 80% (pending approval of DOT since 2017)
– Review and reduce airport antitrust exemptions that increase passenger expenses, travel times and negatively impact national air transportation efficiency.
– Ensure that passenger rights information is freely available at airports
– Consider nationalizing major airport operations and control in a new federal airport agency or corporation.
– Mandate or encourage the use of larger aircraft at congested airports.
– Mandate express rail links to central business districts for large metro airports and to off-airport car rental centers
– Mandate common gates and ‘use it or lose it’ rule to allow access of all airlines to hub airports.
Among the airline-based reforms, Hudson is suggesting:
– Mandate that airlines and airports complete needed equipment installation by end of 2020 for NextGen ATC operation.
– Restore reciprocity rule (aka Rule 240) allowing passengers on canceled or excessively delayed flights (over 90 minutes) to use their tickets on another airline with available seating flying to the same destination.
– Minimum fines of $3,000 per passenger for three-hour rule violations with $1,000 paid to passenger plus $10 per minute for delays over three hours.
– Require ready reserves of personnel and equipment sufficient to prevent cancelation rate over 2% of flights and for on-time performance of over 85%.
– Require cancellations for economic reasons be made at least three hours before flight time and provide passengers with alternate transportation and ticket refund. Presumption is flight less than 30% booked.
– Require plain language notice of delay compensation, especially for international trips.
– Require stranded passengers receive lodging, meal and ground transportation.