Airlines Poised To Profit From FAA Shutdown

Originally published on August 4, 2011 7:10 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: The Federal Aviation Administration has been partially shut down since July 23rd, when Congress failed to approve its funding. Thousands of FAA employees were furloughed, and the agency has not been collected $28.6 million a day in aviation taxes and fees. But most airlines haven't lowered their ticket prices.

ROBERT MANN: It's going to be a very lucrative period for airlines, much more so than they could ever have expected.

DEL BARCO: Retired airline executive and industry consultant Robert Mann says before the windfall, airlines lost $53 billion over the past decade due to the gloomy economy.

MANN: Having the fees relieved, what did they do? With the exception of the three airlines, Spirit, Alaska and Hawaiian, they just turned around and pocketed the money. There's a bit of hypocrisy in that. So I think their ability to go to the Hill from this point onward and argue that they're overtaxed has just been, essentially, gutted.

DEL BARCO: Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.