Tuesday Jan. 15, 2008 @ 3:57 pm By

A story on MSNBC reports on a new federal policy concerning Landing Fees that will allow said fees to be charged to the airport based on time of day and traffic volume. Previous fees have been based on plane weight. The goal here is to make it easier for airports to reduce delays by encouraging airlines to spread their flights more evenly throughout the day. And, it should foster competition among airports in that other airports may try to pick up the slack of those trying to mitigate fees.

Naturally, and it takes no ‘industry analyst’ or pundit to guess this one… consumers ultimately will foot the bill or be put into picking from ever decreasing number of flights to select from for convenience. We won’t recap all the stories of 2007 that mention the airlines horrible arrival rates (read though our blog to see all of that), nor the other attempts at legislation that have been put into motion (flight caps, opening air space, etc.), so add this as one more step to try to address that issue.

That being said, because at face value it seems a reasonable effort, a few good counter points were raised in this story:

“It’s good the (Federal Aviation Administration) is focusing on the delays issue, but these small steps don’t address the fundamental problem when dramatic action is needed,” according to a Port Authority statement. “The right solution is expanding capacity through 21st century technologies, working with the airlines on more rational schedules and better customer service.”

“Unfortunately, (the policy) does nothing to fix the primary cause of delays — our nation’s increasingly antiquated air traffic control system,” ATA President and CEO Jim May said in a statement. “Additional fees … will only increase the cost of flying for the consumer.”

“Consumers flying at peak travel times should not be singled out just because the airports are charging airlines more for their flights, but all travelers likely will see ticket prices rise as carriers distribute the additional cost”

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