Consumer News Release
For immediate release -- Friday, February 5, 1999.
Contact Bob Brammer -- 515-281-6699
Miller in Rochester NY for Airline Competition Roundtable Organized by U.S. Transportation Dept.
Attorney General represents Iowa and State Attorneys General in forum aimed at bolstering competition -- and lowering fares -- in airline industry.
Des Moines--Attorney General Tom Miller is in Rochester NY today to represent the State of Iowa and some thirty other state attorneys general in a forum organized by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to consider what steps should be taken to strengthen competition in the airline industry.
"The issue is competition," Miller said, "but what's at stake are lower air fares and the economic well-being of Iowa and many other regions."
"Rochester is much like Des Moines," he said. "It's a mid-sized city whose air service is dominated by the major carriers -- and whose air fares are very high."
Miller, who is co-chair of a thirty state Airline Competition Working Group of attorneys general, is taking part in a round-table led by U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater. The "aviation competition listening session" includes top-ranking officials from government, the major airlines, low-cost and new-entrant airlines, traveler organizations, pilots, academic experts, and several communities. Michael Audino, marketing director for the Des Moines International Airport, is at the discussion to represent the Greater Des Moines Chamber of Commerce Federation.
"I am happy to begin on the positive note that AccessAir, the first new entrant airline in the U.S. since 1996, began its first full day of service from Des Moines only yesterday," Miller said in remarks prepared for the discussion.
"I am here today to express my strong support for the efforts of the Secretary and the Dept. of Transportation to create an open and fair competitive environment in which AccessAir and other new-entrant and low-cost airlines can compete on a level playing field," he said.
"The lack of real competition and meaningful access to air service fundamentally weakens the economic development and vitality of our communities and states, in addition to penalizing leisure travelers," Miller said.
Miller said he expected the forum to tackle several issues affecting airline competition, including DOT competition guidelines, airlines' access to "slots" at key airports, control of gates and facilities at key airports, the need for venture capital for low-cost and new-entrant airlines, and the potential anti-competitive impact of emerging "alliances" among the nation's six major airlines.
- 30 -