Air Travel Safety and Convenience
AAA believes that although the nation’s air transportation system continues to be safe, its safety is maintained to an increasing extent through delays and other inconveniences to air travelers. Meanwhile, the consistent and growing demand for passenger air travel, particularly during the past decade, is expected to continue to increase.
AAA is concerned that air passengers continue to bear the brunt of the inconvenience and financial loss caused by air carrier bankruptcies. AAA therefore urges the U.S. Department of Transportation, in cooperation with the airlines, to develop a system to protect passengers who either are stranded by — or who are left holding tickets for travel on — an airline which has declared bankruptcy.
AAA endorses the goals of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, enacted to encourage efficient air carrier service by allowing competitive market forces to determine routes, fares, and quality of service.
AAA, however, believes Congress must monitor deregulation’s impact on passengers, airlines, and travel agents to identify and redress serious problems as they develop. AAA urges Congress to pay particular attention to airline safety, financial stability and maintenance by carriers of acceptable levels of service to passengers.
Airport and Airway Trust Fund
AAA supports taxation of users of the nation’s air system, including passengers, provided that revenues are deposited in the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.
Revenues from passenger taxes should not exceed the amount needed by the Trust Fund, and the Trust Fund should not be permitted to accumulate huge unobligated balances which are not fully utilized for the Fund’s intended purposes. These funds should be promptly used to modernize and improve the safety of airport and airway systems.
AAA recommends that Congress remove the Trust Fund from the unified budget in order to free its revenues for their intended purposes.
AAA is concerned that many airport facilities are not keeping pace with the needs of the traveling public at a time of tremendous growth in air transportation. AAA therefore urges that operators of airport facilities make adequate provision for:
- Passenger safety and baggage security.
- Clean and comfortable waiting areas and restrooms.
- Prompt and passenger-friendly baggage handling.
- Accommodations for the handicapped.
- Short-term and long-term auto parking.
- Clear directional signs which incorporate international pictorial symbols.
- Multilingual informational facilities for foreign visitors.
Diversion of Airport Revenue
AAA opposes diversion of airport revenue to city or state treasuries for general budget purposes. Such diversion should continue to be prohibited by the Federal Aviation Act and enforced by loss to the airport of Airport Improvement Program and passenger facility charge (PFC) revenues.
Air System Improvement
To address worsening delays and growing demand for passenger air travel, AAA supports expansion and modernization of the nation’s airport and airway system.
AAA urges full utilization of all available Airport and Airway Trust Fund revenues for:
- Expanding the capacity of existing airports.
- Studies of the feasibility and location of new airport facilities.
- Expanding and modernizing the air traffic control system and increasing the number of qualified air traffic controllers and inspectors.
- Enhancing research, planning, and development for air safety projects.
- Increasing long-term funding for research into the relationship between human factors and air safety, aircraft maintenance, and cabin fire safety.
Reform of the Air Traffic Control System
AAA believes that any change in the structure, such as privatization, of the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic control system should preserve and enhance the safety of the aviation system. Moreover, funding for a new air traffic control system should not be based upon new or increased passenger ticket taxes.
Travel Taxes and Charges
AAA opposes any federal, state, or local taxes or charges imposed upon travelers that are not used to provide programs or services directly related to travel.
Airline Marketing Practices
AAA believes that airlines have a responsibility to inform passengers fully on fares and seat availability. We call upon air carriers to ensure that advertising contains sufficient information to allow air passengers to make a completely informed decision when making airline reservations.
AAA calls upon the U.S. Department of Transportation to use its full investigative and enforcement powers to ensure that airline advertising is neither misleading nor incomplete.
AAA calls upon the Department of Transportation, under the Federal Aviation Act, to investigate and prohibit unfair or deceptive practices or unfair methods of competition in air transportation or sales. We advocate that comprehensive ticket information is available to the traveling public through all available channels, including travel agency reservations systems.