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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

March 10, 2010

AIRLINES MAY CANCEL FLIGHTS TO AVOID PENALTIES FOR DELAYS

NBC DENVER - Passengers may soon be seeing more cancellations on airport departure boards.

Several airlines, including Fort Worth-based American and Houston-based Continental, say they will cancel flights rather than risk paying stiff penalties for delaying passengers on the runway.

Continental's CEO told investors Tuesday that the airline will opt to cancel flights rather than chance being fined.

Aviation consultant Denny Kelly expects other airlines to follow suit.

"I think all of them will cancel flights," he said. "They'll do it partially because they think they are going to punish passengers, and if they punish them, someone will get this legislation removed."

Under new federal guidelines that take effect next month, airlines can be fined up to $27,500 per passenger if a plane is stuck on the tarmac for longer than three hours.

"How can they say there is nothing wrong with having someone sit on a seat and run out of water and everything and sit on there for three, four, five hours? That's ridiculous," Kelly said.

With the new fines, a delayed MD-80 could cost American Airlines close to $4 million, and a fine for a full 757 could cost more than $5 million.

A spokesman for the U.S. Transportation Department said airlines can avoid fines by doing a better job of scheduling flights and crews.


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