Southwest Airlines executive Bob Montgomery testified before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security, saying an airport tax hike on passengers will drive away customers, especially those connecting to small and rural communities. "I have never seen an airport with a construction need that has not been addressed due to a lack of funding," Montgomery said. He added that while airports want more money, they haven't demonstrated a need for it: "There's an old Texas saying: Never ask a barber if you need a haircut."
Airlines for America says $1 billion-plus that airline passengers have already paid for security has been diverted to reduce the federal deficit, and these funds should be brought back to their intended purpose rather than imposing unnecessary tax hikes. A4A's Sharon Pinkerton noted the TSA fee hike in the budget proposal "seems backwards." "I think the first thing Congress and the administration have to do is return that money to TSA," she said. "Obviously the amount of the fee increase was not specified in the budget document. We think any amount is too much when you're diverting $1.3 billion away."
A survey by aviation data company OAG shows that almost half of travelers enrolled in the Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck program think airport checkpoint lines are too long and the $85 membership is a bad value. TSA data show wait times for PreCheck members average less than five minutes, compared to wait times of less than 10 minutes for travelers using standard screening lanes.
Alaska Airlines is planning the future of its fleet now that the carrier has acquired Virgin America and its fleet of Airbus aircraft. Alaska Airlines says it will maintain a mixed fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft for at least six years, though a long-term decision has not been reached.
American Airlines flew 25 Medal of Honor recipients to Washington, D.C., for National Medal of Honor Day. "American Airlines and our more than 100,000 team members are proud to partner with the National Medal of Honor Society to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the recipients of our nation's highest military award for valor in combat," said American's David Seymour, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
The Transportation Security Administration said the number of guns found at Maryland's Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport has been steadily increasing, from 13 guns in 2013 to 24 last year. Five guns have been found at the airport so far this year.
An American Eagle jet carrying 80 people on Friday made an emergency landing at Nebraska's Eppley Airfield. The plane had departed the airport but returned when its landing gear failed to retract.
Miami International Airport's Concourse E was closed Sunday evening while authorities investigated a suspicious item. The concourse reopened at about 10:30 p.m.
A man has been arrested and charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen property in connection with the theft of singer John Legend's bag at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. Prosecutors say a police officer recognized the man from a security video and recovered the bag.
Demolition of an old terminal at Pennsylvania's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport is scheduled to begin in the next two or three weeks and should be complete within three months. The land where the terminal now sits will be paved for parking for cars and jets.
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