U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President Jonathan Grella issued the following statement on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation hearing on FAA Reauthorization: Airport Issues and Infrastructure Financing:
“We repeatedly heard two things from the big airlines’ representatives: one, there are no infrastructure problems; and two, even if there were, there’s plenty of money to fix them. Well, we’re living in two different realities, because the rest of the travel community keeps looking at the empirical data and arriving at the exact opposite conclusions. Delays, cancellations and lack of competition among airlines are literally driving travelers out of the flying market. And the only available revenue streams to address those problems—federal appropriations and local user fees—have all but disappeared because of tight budgets and inflation.
“We do see why the Big Three airlines so vehemently object: infrastructure modernization equals more terminal space for competitors, which equals more choices and better fares and service for consumers.
“The senators at the hearing asked very good questions that indicated a firm grasp of the realities facing our air travel system. The hearing gave us a glimmer of hope that common sense will win out on fixing our dilapidated aviation infrastructure, not the airlines’ bottomless lobbying budgets.”