April 27, 2007
U.S. DOT To Investigate Airline Scheduling and Other News
U.S. DOT To Investigate Airline Scheduling
According to an article in TheStreet.com, the DOT has launched an investigation of airline scheduling practices that may lead it to issue fines against as many as eight carriers. The DOT investigation is focused on flights that are late more than 70% of the time, as well as the failure of airline reservation agents to disclose accurate information about how often a flight is late.
Delta Heathrow Service?
In a development that supports those who argued that London-Heathrow slots would become available to U.S. new entrant carriers, the Financial Times reported that Delta anticipates obtaining up to six pairs of slots to enable it to start Heathrow service in March 2008. The article states that Delta is "very confident" that these slots can be obtained through its alliance partners and other unaligned carriers.
EU Commission Italian PSO Decision
The EU Commission recently issued a ruling on public service obligations (PSO) on flights between Sardinia and Italy's mainland. The decision allows Italy to keep its PSO, but any operators that meet terms of the PSO must now be allowed fly the routes. According to an AFX story, Alitalia, Easyjet and Ryanair are now considering starting flights to Sardinia. Click to access the Commission press release and full decision.
House Aviation Subcommittee Hearing on EAS Program
The U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee met this past week to hear testimony about the Essential Air Service (EAS), and Small Community Air Service Development (SCASD) programs. The Bush Administration's 2008 budget proposal would provide only $50 million in funding and limit the EAS program to about 70 communities. Any significant changes to the EAS program would be a tough political sell as it has bipartisan support from members of Congress. Click here for full testimony from this hearing.
GAO Report on A380 Impact
The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) recently released a report on "Potential Safety and Capacity Issues Associated With the Introduction of the New A380 Aircraft." The report makes the interesting point that while the large capacity of the aircraft may help improve airport congestion (by removing multiple flights in smaller aircraft), increased separation requirements, operating restrictions and gate limitations may offset this benefit.