Posted by: harrisonjones | November 15, 2011

Airline fined for losing money

The department of transportation has fined American Eagle Airlines $900,000 for recent delays on the tarmac exceeding three hours. Didn’t I read somewhere that the airlines have been deregulated? Are the fines a deterrent to delays or a revenue enhancement for the government? I doubt very seriously if any airline purposely plans to have one of its airplanes sitting on the ground for three hours. Airborne utilization is the only way an airplane can be profitable and most airlines probably need that number to be at least 10 hours a day to stay in business.

When an airplane is delayed, it not only loses money on that particular flight, but also on the next flight it was scheduled to fly. The delay dominoes throughout the entire schedule and increases cost at every level in addition to destroying customer service. Does Ray LaHood at DOT think that is the airline’s plan? Far be it from me to make excuses for airline management or their customer service record, however my criticism is of their policies on a normal day. When a nor’easter blows in and de-icing is in progress and ATC increases spacing to ten miles in trail or worse yet the weather is below landing minimums, I have to cut them a little slack.

Let’s face the fact that they have to land every flight or else let it run out of fuel and crash. Given the choice… With all the extra flights on the ground, there simply are not enough gates to park them. Someone is going to be odd man out and stranded on the ramp. The airline has no control over ATC and weather delays and they have no control over the number of gates at a given airport. If our friend Ray has a solution, it would be a good time to share it with the industry. Perhaps he could run down to JFK approach control and enlighten them on how to run the system more efficiently. Or possibly he could influence the airport authority in Hartford to build more gates. Here’s an idea; deregulate somebody and then impose some new regulations along with hefty fines for not complying.

I’m sure Mr. LaHood is feeling some pressure from irate airline passengers and the voters who employ his boss, but if he thinks that’s uncomfortable, he should go sit at a radar scope for a couple of hours during a snow storm or perch himself in the left seat of an airliner with 300 people following him around. Imposing a $900,000 fine might ease the pressure at DOT, but it’s not a life or death decision.


  1. It’s not only the airline industry that has been hit lately with fines. The DOT has increased the amount of fines it is issueing in the trucking industry. We have heard many stories from our transport operators that deliver our cars for our lot about over regulation and discussions over petty issues that eventually end up with a fine of some sort or another.

    A couple of months ago OSHA came into the shop where our son is a Mechanical Designer and because of their requirements to be in force before they could operate again the shop was closed down for 3 days. That put their production schedule behind, put guys out of work for 3 days and made the clients not very happy about them missing their deadlines.

    There was nothing dangerous about their shop just some small items that need to be addressed. Why not just notify them of the necessary changes and give them a date they will stop back to check on the required changes instead of shutting them down. I think somebody’s budget needed an extra boost from the fines.

    We need people working and producing some products in our country not more regulations.

    • Have you noticed that more speeding tickets are being issued, and the garbage collection fees have increased. My license plate cost more and I almost had to pay an extra levy on my Christmas tree. It must be good to be the King. And why is gas and groceries not included in the inflation rate? I’ll be flat broke before they implement the flat tax. And how can they criticise the banks for raising fees when every government fee in my state has increased this year. I bought tires and a battery for my truck and had to pay a government disposal fee for the old ones. I was going to write my congressman but the price of a stamp went up and it’s not worth it.

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