The crisis affecting the aviation industry is profound and will be long lasting unless changes in policy and approach are found in both the public and the private sector. The airlines have responded to their difficult financial situation by attempting to cut costs in labor, equipment and service. The cuts in service are resulting in reduced schedules, convenience and comfort to travelers and reduced accessibility to the national economy for many cities. The crisis threatens to prolong and deepen the financial difficulties being felt in the travel and tourism industry, which is key to metropolitan economies. The report identifies the cities hardest hit by the cuts in air service, ranking them in categories of large, medium and small airports, and finds that the changes result from deep cuts in short distance flights. These flights of 100-400 miles, which are becoming money losers for the airlines, can be well served by passenger rail and express bus service, if airports become travelports for these services. Changes in government policy and practice to permit a closer integration of air with rail and bus would create a more stable financial system for all three modes, enabling each to serve the markets best suited. It would shore up our crumbling intercity travel network, restoring access for many medium sized and smaller cities, improving consumer choice and convenience, and giving a boost to the struggling tourism sector. With all of the legislation affecting aviation, rail and highways up for Congressional renewal next year, the time is right to begin building an integrated intercity travel system for the 21st Century.
Thanks to Carrie Makarewicz