Here’s your daily briefing on aviation policy news:
- In the handsomely redesigned November issue of The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg exposes the uselessness of airport security. He carried tons of forbidden items onto planes and lots of not-forbidden but suspicion-arousing paraphernalia as well. Since much of it seems targeted at making us feel safe, articles like this undermine the entire security apparatus. There’s commentary here and here (at the latter link: “I suppose you could say that a real terrorist about to attempt a hijacking would be smart enough not bring his al Qaeda T-shirt or inflatable Yasir Arafat doll with him; so maybe the TSA was right to overlook those items.”). [The Atlantic]
- Airlines justified their truckload of new fees as necessary due to the escalating cost of fuel. As prices come down, will the fees go away? Now Congress is getting involved. Side note: Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) says, “Now is not the time for Americans to be priced out of traveling—that is simply unfair to families who want to spend the holidays with their loved ones and it is bad for our economy in need of a boost.” Wouldn’t political pressure to keep fares low be bad for an airline industry in need of a boost? Just sayin’. [Upgrade: Travel Better]
- Bill Swelbar recognizes the thirtieth anniversary of airline deregulation. Today he focuses on some of the drawbacks of deregulation. “Airlines have a long way to go before they find a sustainable operating model that manages to ‘feed’ various stakeholders. In some circles there are calls for re-regulation. But this ignores the fact that the federal government already heavily regulates this so-called ‘deregulated’ industry, so it is unlikely that further regulation is the answer.” [Swelblog.com]
- In a rare reverse attributable to a recessionary economy and high energy prices, air passenger traffic continues to fall. [Aero-News.Net]
- EVENT NOTICE: Tomorrow, National Journal is sponsoring a transportation policy forum here in Washington on the candidates’ positions on the issue. Representatives of both campaigns will be there. You’ll be able to find a report on the event in this space.