Airline Regulation Probe Suspended


The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Friday that it is suspending action on an Obama administration probe into a long-time practice by some airlines of preventing travel websites from displaying their fares. The DOT is also postponing a decision on requiring additional fees such as baggage charges to be listed as well.

According to the notice, the DOT is shelving a public comment period on the review of the practices to “allow the president’s appointees the opportunity to review and consider this action.”

Following the 2015 generation of $3.8 billion in baggage fees by the airlines, the Obama administration announced in October that it was considering requiring airlines and ticket agents to post prices that include fees for baggage and other services at points of sale.

In addition, the Trump administration has extended by one year the compliance date for a data-reporting regulation requiring detailed numbers on mishandled baggage and wheelchairs in aircraft cargo compartments. The new compliance date is set for January 1, 2019.

The decision was heralded by Airlines for America, the industry trade group representing American Airlines Group Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc., and Southwest Airlines Company, among others.

“Today’s action is a common sense measure reinforcing that the airline industry is capable of making the decisions that best serve our customers, our employees and the communities we serve,” Airlines for America chief executive Nicholas Calio said in a statement.

Calio added that the “airline industry operates under 13,000 regulations across 13 agencies, many of which are outdated, obsolete and in need of reform.”

In a February meeting with airline chief executives, President Trump asked them to identify regulatory impediments preventing job growth in the industry.

A study conducted in 2014 by the Travel Technology Association, a travel agencies’ trade group, revealed that restricting the ability of consumers to comparison-shop would cause airline ticket prices to increase by more than 11 percent.

H/T: Reuters


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