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AAA CALLS FOR SWIFT ACTION ON AIRLINE COMMISSION FINDINGS

 WASHINGTON, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Automobile Association called for speedy consideration and implementation of the major recommendations of the National Airline Commission, which issued its final report today.
 AAA commended the commission for its on-time completion of a thorough and thoughtful analysis of the complex problems facing the domestic airline industry.
 "The National Airline Commission has performed a valuable public service," said Darryl Wyland, senior vice president of AAA Public & Government Relations. "Now it will be up to the Clinton administration and the Congress to make these recommendations a reality."
 AAA, which operates nearly 1,000 travel agency locations, booked more than 2.7 million domestic air passengers last year, and is one of the largest retailers of air transportation in North America.
 Among specific findings of the commission, Wyland said that AAA strongly supports the recommendation that the federal air-passenger ticket tax be rolled back from 10 percent to 8 percent, and that revenues collected from Customs, Immigration and Agriculture inspection fees imposed on passengers be spent on the activities for which they were intended.
 One area in which the commission did not go far enough, AAA said, is in the scrutiny of applications by airports to impose new passenger facility charges to pay for improvement projects.
 In testimony before the commission, AAA President Paul R. Verkuil cautioned that PFCs may be funding a "golden age of airport development" at the expense of other crucial segments of the aviation system.
 Although the commission recommended continued close scrutiny of PFC applications and approval of only those projects that meet the PFC statute's criteria, AAA said it is concerned that the statute only provides guidelines, not strict criteria.
 "Some of the so-called airport improvement projects approved by the Federal Aviation Administration are questionable uses of air-passenger taxes," Wyland said. "AAA continues to oppose the entire concept of PFCs as an excessive tax burden on air travelers and a financial burden on airlines."
 AAA endorsed a proposal to have the Department of Transportation monitor and review the financial health of the airlines and exercise its existing authority with a carrier that fails to heed DOT warnings or concerns.
 "Air passengers deserve to know not only that an airline they fly meets safety standards, but also is financially fit," said Wyland.
 AAA said a commission recommendation to create an independent federal corporate entity within the Department of Transportation to manage and fund the air traffic control system merits further discussion.
 But Wyland cautioned that the goal of providing a "predictable, stable source of revenues" to manage and fund the air traffic control system should not become code words for imposing yet another tax on airline passengers, as such words did for enactment of the legislation authorizing passenger facility charges.
 AAA said it was especially pleased that the commission took note of the enormous economic contributions of tourism, which depends so heavily on the airline industry.
 AAA is a not-for-profit federation of 138 motor clubs in the U.S. and Canada that provide members and the public with air, cruise and rail tickets; tours; car rentals; and travel packages. AAA has more than 34.5 million members.
 -0- 8/19/93
 /CONTACT: Dick Hebert, 202-942-2050, or Jerry Cheske, 407-444-8000, both of the American Automobile Association/


CO: American Automobile Association; National Airline Commission ST: Florida IN: LEI AIR SU:

RC-AW -- FL006 -- 4436 08/19/93 15:27 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 19, 1993
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