Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Archive: February, 2012

POSTED: Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 12:55 PM

The Obama administration is trying again, as it did last fall, to require airlines and their passengers to help offset some of the cost of government services they use -- something that is already routine and seemingly widely accepted by travelers. The administration's fiscal 2013 budget proposal, released yesterday, includes a request to Congress to raise the $2.50 per segment fee for aviation security to $5, and then gradually increase it to $7.50 over five years. The proposal also seeks a $100 per flight fee on all aircraft takeoffs to help defray the costs of air-traffic control and to help reduce the federal deficit. Once again, the airlines are vehemently opposed to such increases.  

The airlines' opposition to increasing fees is no surprise, but as I recently explored in some depth in a trade magazine article I wrote, the industry has been called hypocritical as it argues against the increases. The airlines contend that raising fees modestly will be a killer, leading to higher prices that will mean fewer customers, which in turn will lead to canceled service and abandonment of some routes and eventually to large job losses in the travel indstry. As my article asks: OK, so what has the effect been on travel from the airlines' own fees imposed over the last three years? And what was the impact on air traffic been of a dozen base fare increases in 2011? Which would have a greater negative effect, paying $2.50 or $5 more for security or paying $50 to $100 more per flight if you want to check a bag and sit in a specific aisle seat? Read my article in Business Travel Executive to learn more.

In the meantime, in case you're worried about the financial health of the always-fragile airline industry, a Wall Street analyst's report this morning estimates that industry revenue for every available seat it flies one mile will be up 9 percent or better in January and February and 7.5 percent in March vs. a year ago. I'm finding it hard to feel sorry for the airlines right now.  How about you? 

POSTED: Monday, February 13, 2012, 4:03 PM

The European Unon's airline emissions trading scheme (or program in American English) faces serious opposition from airlines in the U.S., China and elsewhere. Now Airbus is asking questions, too, wondering if the UN isn't the place to establish rules on who pays for carbon emiission. Read more in this story.

POSTED: Friday, February 10, 2012, 5:02 PM

An excellent column by longtime travel writer Bill McGee in USA Today outlines how fees for travel services have spread way beyond airlines and can easily obscure bottom-line costs. The article, found here, includes numerous helpful links to other travel information. 

POSTED: Friday, February 10, 2012, 1:23 PM

Inquirer beat reporter Linda Loyd has a good story today detailing the long-expected impact of the end of Southwest service on the PHL- Boston Logan route: Fares have shot to the stratosphere on the only carrier left with nonstop flights, a rerun of the gouging US Airways used to do before it had competition on the route. Read it all here ... 

POSTED: Thursday, February 9, 2012, 2:14 PM

The chances have grown in the last year or two for individuals to be placed on a U.S. government security watch list that may restrict your ability to fly on a commercial airline. But if you can avoid that, perhaps your trip through TSA screening at PHL will get faster with the agency's expansion to our local airport of its expedited process for preapproved travelers. Read a little more about it here ....

POSTED: Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 10:44 AM

Additional competition on a nonstop route is always welcome by air travel consumers so this is very good news: Alaska Airlines will launch flights between PHL and its hub in Seattle on June 11, the airport annouced this morning. The airline's Web site is www.alaskair.com.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 10:37 AM

Remarkably, Congress has agreed to do something in a bipartisan way, although many Democrats are unhappy with the final product: The first reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration in five years. The bill, given final approval yesterday, provides money for the Next Generation air traffic control system and other programs. Read on at this link ...

POSTED: Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 10:20 AM

Another relic of the past, Malev Hungarian Airlines, stopped flying because of financial troubles. The state-owned carrier, established during the Cold War era, could fly again but only if it attracts some private investment. Read more about it here ...

About this blog
Tom Belden has been reporting about Philadelphia International Airport and other air travel subjects for more than 20 years, writing columns for The Inquirer's Travel and Business sections. His reporting (with colleague Craig McCoy) on baggage handling problems in Philadelphia have been credited with helping to improve the system. His previous blog was called Road Warrior. He can reached at tbelden@phillynews.com. Reach Tom at tbelden@phillynews.com.

Tom Belden
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