Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Bob Crandall, former President and Chairman of American Airlines, went public today with his support for federal passenger rights legislation. See Joan Lowy, Ex-CEO Backs Limit on Leaving Passengers on Tarmac, Associated Press, Sept. 22, 2009 (available here). From the story:
"I think the airline industry should have led the way in responding to this problem rather than having resisted it," Crandall said. "Every responsible airline executive I know thinks these things are an outrage."
However, he said returning passengers to terminals likely will result in more flight cancellations and modest fare increases.
Since flights are increasingly full or nearly full due to airlines' cutbacks in schedules, passengers who opt to deplane may have difficulty finding seats on other planes and may be delayed longer than if they had continued to wait on a runway, Crandall said.
He recommended an initial four-hour time limit to give airlines time to make adjustments before ratcheting down to a three-hour limit in 2011.
Crandall's publicly stated views are consistent with those he expressed to the International Aviation Law Institute last week as part of its ongoing Conversations with Aviation Leaders series. (The full three-hour interview with Crandall is forthcoming on the Institute's website here.) During the interview, Crandall took repeated note that the U.S. lacked a coherent air transport policy and cited serious delays at airports as evidence of that fact.