leads group challenging position of major airlines
A group of 24 states today challenged arguments presented by the major airlines aimed at killing proposed U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines that could result in stronger competition -- and lower ticket prices -- in the airline industry.
The states, led by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, filed reply comments with the U.S. Secretary of Transportation responding point-by-point to claims made by major airlines against adoption of the guidelines, which are designed to protect low-fare airlines from unfair competition.
"The major airlines clearly see these proposed guidelines as a significant obstacle to their domination of airline traffic in places like Des Moines," Miller said. "The fact is, the proposed guidelines will help protect low-cost carriers from being driven out of the market by the major airlines. Consumers and businesses clearly benefit from the competition provided by these low-cost carriers."
"We believe that the major airlines have used unfair competition to dominate the low-cost airlines and force them out of markets," Miller said.
Miller noted that low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines told the DOT that it has over three-quarters of the low-fare airline revenue in the country. "If this contention is correct, it suggests that the playing field is tilted more heavily toward major airlines than has previously been apparent, and it gives more urgency to the effort to enforce fair and just competitive business standards in the industry," Miller wrote in the comment to the DOT.