I’m in Israel for our 4th annual security mission. But before I get to that, I should mention that word has reached here about airlines making over $900 million in fees just in the last quarter. Fine. Good for them. They can charge whatever they want; they are de-regulated. But there are three questions.
First, airline reliance on fees renders the way the federal aviation trust fund is financed obsolete. So we need to figure something out. If we don’t, investment in infrastructure and air traffic control will suffer.
Second, it is shown that fees provide incentives for people to carry more bags on board. This has had an impact at checkpoints. Something should be done.
Finally, as I’ve said so many other times, why is it that the federal government caps fees charged by airports, but not airlines. This federal involvement in local matters makes no sense, but I guess no less sense than airlines opposing airports financing projects through user fees. (Especially, when the fact that airport fees are limited reduces the airline bottom line, thereby reducing the positive impact of fees – if you think that makes sense then you must have a unique definition of self-interest).
Sorry, just had to say that, especially after the latest figures came out.
I’ll have plenty to say about Israel shortly. We’ve visited some incomparable historic sights. We traveled through Palestinian territories today on the way from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, with Ramallah just a kilometer or two away and, at one point, the security fence on BOTH sides of the highway.
We have had briefings at the Foreign Ministry and spent a full day and a half at the airport viewing their security programs from every angle. Suffice to say we’ve learned a lot — including the fact that the Israeli system could not be imported whole to the U.S. or Canada. More to come.