Biden to lead US study on airport niches and aviation market structure – advising

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Delta Air Lines passenger jets are parked due to flight cuts made to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, March 25, 2020. REUTERS / Elijah Nouvelage

WASHINGTON, July 9 (Reuters) – An executive order to boost competition that President Joe Biden is due to sign on Friday will direct US regulators to examine airport slots and structural issues in the aviation market, a adviser to the White House.

White House economic adviser Bharat Ramamurti said the US Department of Transportation “will look at slot issues and other competitive issues in the structure of the market … Our goal is to have more competition in the market. the airline industry, ”Ramamurti said.

Airport slot allocation rules have major ramifications for airline competition and market access for low cost carriers.

“This is an area that deserves further study to determine how to balance a variety of competing interests,” Ramamurti said.

Biden’s order also directs the Department of Transportation to propose new rules to require passenger airlines to reimburse charges for significantly delayed baggage and reimbursements for services such as onboard Wi-Fi that don’t work. .

Under existing rules of the United States Department of Transportation, passengers are entitled to reimbursement of costs in the event of lost baggage, but not in the event of delay.

Under the proposed rule to be published in the next few days, “long-delay checked baggage” is baggage that is not delivered to the passenger within 12 hours for domestic routes and within 25 hours for domestic routes. international.

Airlines for America, a group representing major airlines including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, wrote to White House economic adviser Brian Deese on Thursday to discuss the proposals.

The group said on Friday that “the stiff competition in the US airline industry has generated unprecedented levels of affordability and affordability, benefiting the customer at all levels.”

Draft decree seen by Reuters asks the ministry to assess “existing commercial aviation programs, consumer protection” and to consult with the justice ministry “to ensure competition in air transport and the capacity of new entrants to access it “.

It also orders to consider “measures to support the development of airports and the increase in capacity and to improve the management of airport congestion, access to gates … and the administration of” slots “”.

The administration’s proposal would also require airlines to promptly reimburse expenses – such as advance seat selection, Wi-Fi and other flight services – if the passenger does not receive the service or s ‘it does not work.

U.S. airlines collected around $ 5.8 billion in baggage fees and $ 2.8 billion in change and cancellation fees in 2019, compared to just $ 464 million in baggage fees and $ 915 million. change and cancellation fees in 2007.

The Transportation Department also intends to issue a separate rule proposal to require the initial disclosure of baggage fees, change fees, and cancellation fees.

Reporting by David Shepardson, editing by Franklin Paul and Alistair Bell

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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