The White House budget proposal seeks to triple funding to modernize the nation's aging air traffic control system. The request includes $688 million for the satellite-based technology investments needed to upgrade the air traffic control system, up from $212 million in the last fiscal year. The budget proposal also contains a security fee hike, which would generate revenue for DHS to purchase baggage screening systems. In addition, the FAA responded to criticism of proposed budget cuts to the Airport Improvement Program, saying that the proposed funding will still allow the program to meet all safety and capacity needs and accommodate outstanding projects.
The fee United Airlines will start charging passengers for checking more than one piece of luggage is likely to be copied by other legacy airlines, airline consultant Terry Trippler says. "They (United) are the first, but they certainly won't be the last," said Trippler.
Airlines faced a tough year in 2007, with fuel prices soaring and severe air traffic congestion causing extensive delays, The Wall Street Journal's Scott McCartney writes. He noted that Southwest Airlines turned in the best on-time arrival performance and had the fewest complaints, according to DOT statistics.
Congress on Monday told the Government Accountability Office to use its experts to analyze a NASA study on air safety. The review will allow the GAO to compare rates of events reported by the pilots to information collected in other ways by the Federal Aviation Administration. The NASA study involved interviews with pilots that covered dozens of safety incidents.
Airline shares slipped on Monday as fuel prices climbed and investors grew skeptical about any impending merger among major airlines. Some observers expect merger activity to ramp up over the next few months, but others say a deal could be announced as soon as Feb. 15.