WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2002 - Delta Air Lines Chairman and CEO Leo F. Mullin today told members of the United States Senate Commerce Committee that the federal government should pay for aviation security mandated by last year’s Aviation and Transportation Security Act.
“In keeping with that original intent, we are asking for relief for the industry from the costs of fighting the war on terrorism and providing national security for our citizens,” Mullin said during testimony delivered before the full Senate Commerce Committee.
“We are not requesting special treatment, or for what has been sometimes termed a ‘bailout,’ but for an end to special treatment. We request for relief from the government-imposed consequences of the war on terrorism now uniquely borne by the airline industry,” 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. “It is airline management’s responsibility to deal with marketplace factors using the tools of the free market in the current crisis,” Mullin said.
However, Mullin estimated that the total post 9/11 security-related impact on the U.S. airline industry would be about $4 billion. This is in addition to an estimated loss of revenue of about $2.5 billion attributed to the so-called security “hassle factor” of additional measures imposed by the government.
“This is a staggering amount for any industry to absorb and, indeed, no other private sector has been asked to finance national security costs,” said Mullin. “Increased aviation security should be viewed as an appropriate national security response to the Sept. 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.”