WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2002 - The federal government should pay for national security costs now carried by U.S. commercial aviation as a matter of national defense, said Delta Air Lines Chairman and CEO, Leo F. Mullin today in testimony delivered before the U.S. House of Representatives aviation subcommittee.
“We request that the government relieve the industry of government-imposed security costs stemming from the nation’s war on terrorism,” said Mullin. “Because the repercussions of 9/11 have extended beyond anyone’s expectations, our industry is experiencing an unprecedented financial crisis.”
Mullin said airlines are not asking Congress to assist with economic or competitive challenges facing the industry, but are requesting that the government relieve the industry of costs associated with national security stemming from the nation’s war on terrorism.
“It is airline management’s responsibility to deal with marketplace factors in the current crisis,” Mullin said.
Mullin estimated that the total post 9/11 security-related impact on the U.S. airline industry would be about $4 billion.
“That’s a staggering number,” said Mullin. “Increased aviation security should be viewed as an appropriate national security response to the September 11 national attacks which used airlines as the instruments of destruction. As a result, these costs should be funded through the national security funding mechanisms, not as taxes or costs imposed specifically on airlines.
“Removing the national security burden from the airlines is crucial not only to my industry, but to the millions of people, businesses, and organizations that depend on a secure, healthy, and efficient air transportation system.”