Proposal Aimed at Ending Unfair Competition Disliked by Airlines

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The airline industry gave a collective thumbs down Thursday to a proposal the Transportation Department says is aimed at ending unfair competition.

The Air Transport Association, which represents the nation's major carriers, released legal papers, economic studies and personal testimonials from an array of political and business leaders. All said the policy would stifle airline competition, not promote it.

That, in turn, would lead to higher air fares rather than lower ones, the ATA predicted.

"America's air travelers don't need government meddling in a free market that is giving them more choices at better prices than ever before," said association President Carol B. Hallett. "The proposal is particularly onerous, because the rules protect some airlines while preventing others from normal competitive behavior. It is not the job of the DOT to pick winners and losers."

The airline business was removed from government regulation in 1978. In April, the Transportation Department announced plans to crack down on airlines that engage in practices aimed solely at driving startup carriers out of business. …