Rockefeller, Cantwell Ask Airlines to Reveal Ticket Profits

July 28, 2011

SCom: AviationWASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV and Aviation Subcommittee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell today wrote to the CEOs of the nation’s 12 largest airlines, including Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson, questioning them on whether the airline companies are in fact generating nearly $30 million a day in additional profits by exploiting a passenger ticket tax holiday in the wake of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shutdown.

“We are writing to confirm whether your company is one of the airlines generating profits by exploiting its own customers,” Senators Rockefeller and Cantwell said in the letter.  “Like the ‘ancillary fees’ that many airlines now charge for blankets, checked luggage, priority seating, and itinerary changes, this recent fare increase has further damaged the industry’s relationship with airline passengers.”

The text of today’s letter to the nation’s 12 largest airlines can be found below.

On Monday, July 26, 2011, Senators Rockefeller and Cantwell sent a letter to the head of the Air Transport Association (ATA) urging the industry to reconsider their decision to gouge customers with fare increases that matched the fare levels before the FAA lost its authority to collect aviation excise taxes.  Following the ATA’s response that they could not speak on behalf of particular air carriers on the matter, the Senators moved to write to the individual airlines directly for answers.

Today’s letter went to the following U.S. airlines:

  1. Delta Air Lines
  2. United-Continental
  3. American Airlines
  4. Southwest Airlines
  5. US Airways
  6. Alaska Air Group
  7. JetBlue Airways
  8. Republic Airways Holdings
  9. Hawaiian Airlines
  10. Spirit Airlines
  11. Virgin America
  12. Allegiant Air