Under President Barack Obama, the Department of Transportation has nearly doubled the fines levied against the airline industry compared with the final two years of the Bush administration. Airlines have been slapped with $4.77 million in fines relating to advertising, data reporting and other matters, while proposed safety fines hit $77.4 million in a single year. "The pendulum has swung pretty hard," says Kenneth Quinn, a former FAA general counsel. "Multimillion-dollar fines can negate a good quarter." Meanwhile, James May, president and CEO of the Air Transport Association, says he worries that a long history of cooperation between airlines and regulators is being replaced by "an enforcement-oriented, punitive approach."
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